Wet weather forcing harvest to lag behind this year

SALEM, Ohio — The sun may be shining this week, but that doesn’t help the fact that many farmers are way behind on their harvest.

Producers are playing catch up this week after wet weather wreaked havoc on soybean harvesting for the past couple of weeks.

And don’t even ask area crop farmers about picking corn at this point.

Behind schedule

Both the Agland Co-op and Keystone Commodities are hearing from farmers that harvesting is way behind schedule, however many are hopeful the state will receive a few days of warmer dry temperatures and the work can resume in fields. Besides, harvesting, many farmers are also falling behind on wheat planting, possibly creating a potential problem for the crop.

Ralph Wince, grain merchandiser for Agland Co-op, said the market area is definitely behind. He estimates less than 10 percent of the soybean crop is off the fields as of Oct. 16.

“The farmers just can’t get enough good consecutive days to get anything done,” Wince said, as he referred to the cloudy, on-and-off-again rain days.

Marlin Clark, grain merchandiser with Keystone Commodities, said Ashtabula County farmers are seeing the same problem: not enough dry days to get in the fields.

However, he feels the Ashtabula County area has been luckier than other parts of the state and said the area has more harvest completed than other parts of the state and even country.

Clark said there is no doubt the soybean harvest is lagging — his area had the majority of beans off by this same time last year.

Wet soybeans

Both grain merchandisers said all soybeans being combined need some drying. Clark said he has heard of 18.5 percent moisture and Wince said Agland has seen it has high as 15.6 percent, but not one bean below 14 percent.

“If we can get three days of good dry weather, our bean moisture will be where it needs to be,” said Wince.

Corn crop

Meanwhile, it could be awhile before corn is ready to come off the fields, due to the cool summer the area experienced.

According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, 86 percent of the corn was mature and 23 percent was combined by this time last year. The Ohio ag stats office estimates only 67 percent of the corn crop is mature and only 6 percent has been harvested so far this year.

In Pennsylvania, the ASS is reporting 73 percent of the corn crop is mature compared to 95 percent last year. A total of 14 percent has been harvested compared to 39 percent of the crop harvested at this time last year.

Wince said farmers have told him that some of the corn being picked was registering between 30 and 35 percent moisture, stopping many farmers in their tracks for now.

“We will continue to lag behind on corn. We just didn’t have the heat units during the summer needed to get it dried down,” he added.

Clark shared a similar outlook on the corn harvest.

“It’s not ready. The sun didn’t shine all summer, why would it be?” he added.

Even many dairy farmers are reporting the corn is even too wet to make silage.

Fall forecast

Ohio State University Extension corn agronomist Peter Thomison said if the fall remains cool and moist, Ohio could be facing a repeat of the 1992 corn harvest.

That year, due to unfavorable weather conditions and cooler temperatures, some farmers didn’t complete harvesting their corn until December and January the following year because the corn didn’t dry down fast enough.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

One Comment

  1. Bob Church says:

    Hey Kristy,

    This is my second year farming. I started from nothing last year, so what do I know about a typical year. So far a typical year is buy “field ready” equipment, try to use my “field ready” equipment, fix my “field ready” equipment. Seriously, that was pretty much the story my first year, besides rolling my Allis 7000 tractor, making hay only to have the rain ruin it before I could get it market and harvesting only 16 bushels of beans per acre on 70 acres.

    At the end of the year I recalled my mother-in-law’s remarks, “If he doesn’t get discouraged after his first year he’ll probably do ok.” So I set my sites on year two and started fixing equipment when it was snowing, Built a barn for my hay in March and a cabin to say in while I’m at the hay farm in April. Planted my oats on April 27th and early beans April 27 and 28. Got my first cutting of hay complete on June 7th. Planted late beans on the 15th of June in the Alliance Industrial park. My wheat was the weedest I’ve ever seen so it took weeks to harvest 30 acres. then it was back to the hay fields to square bale and take it to the auctions.

    Finally had time to work on the interior of the cabin again, so I finished hanging the drywall abd blowing in the insulation. Then it was time to harvest beans. As of today I’m about 60% finished. I would have harvested the beans in the Alliance Industrial park last week but one side of the feeder housing snapped off the combine and put a stop to harvesting. Then the rain came and here we are today. I’ll fix the combine in the field and press on this week.

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