Greg LaBarge, Fulton County agricultural extension agent, said Monday 60% of the Fulton County corn harvest is completed, and the soybean harvest is finished.
Soybean yields were “all across the board,” with field averages from the 30-bushels per-acre range into the 60-bushel range. The Fulton County soybean yield average is 42 bushels to the acre.
He noted yields were down in the northern portion of the county, as farms north of US20 didn’t get necessary rainfall. There also was a problem with disease late in the season.
Prices for soybeans, “like a lot of commodities, have been up, been down, and back up.
“There’s a wide variation for potential prices. Farmers could have contracted (to sell their crop) at $14 (per bushel) to $15, or as low as $8 or $9 over a year,” he said.
Most soybeans harvested in Fulton County go to processors.
“There are a couple in Indiana, and a couple in Ohio they probably go to.
“The beans are crushed, and the oil extracted. The protein (what’s left over from crushing) is used for the protein portion of livestock feed,” he said.
Farmers would rather see the corn in their bins than standing in the fields.
As long as corn remains standing, it’s susceptible to molds. Ear molds damage the corn kernels. Stalk rot weakens the stalks, causing them to be blown over by the wind, making harvest more difficult.
Of the corn that has been harvested, LaBarge said the reports are Fulton County has had a good crop.
Field averages are coming anywhere from 160 bushels per acre to a high of more than 200 bushels per acre. Fulton County’s five-year corn yield average is 164 bushels per acre.
“We have a fairly decent crop out there. The problem is, it’s also been a wet crop,” he said.
By wet, LaBarge is referring to the moisture content of the kernels, expressed as a percentage.
He said if corn is going into long-term storage, farmers are looking for moisture content of about 13%. Corn that will be used the following spring can be stored at 14% to 15%.
Early on in the harvest, LaBarge reported moisture contents of 25% to 29%.
Relatively warm temperatures in late October and early November have dried the corn crop in the field. Later reports put moisture content in the 19% to 22% range.
High moisture content means the corn must be dried in large grain driers. Whether done on the farm or at the elevator, it adds cost and reduces a farmer’s profit.
Like soybeans, corn prices have been up and down. The high has been $6 per bushel, while the low is $3. Corn, contracted for delivery in December, is bringing $3.90 per bushel, LaBarge said.
The amount of winter wheat planted in Fulton County is down, partly because farmers planted less wheat, and partly because weather delayed the soybean harvest.
“We like to plant wheat the last couple of days of September to the 15th of October. Most of the wheat got planted right before Halloween (Saturday, Oct. 31),” LaBarge said.
But during that time, many farmers still had soybeans in the fields and wheat could not be planted. –David Pugh