While the weather temporarily looks dreary, the harvest looks good.
That is the word from the area’s fields and the elevators regarding the 2020 harvest.
“The start of the harvest was non-stop, really going hard,” said Jim Gesling, manager of MFA-Centralia. “This little touch of rain we’re having, didn’t do much more than give everybody a little break.”
Gesling said, the Centralia area harvest is about 60 percent complete.
“And the beans and corn are looking pretty good,” he said.
As do the prices, Gesling said. “The Chicago Board of Trade has marked up the price of beans. With all the product coming out of the fields and the quality, it looks like it will be a pretty good year for producers.
Production, he said is good with area soybean harvests averaging 50 bushels per acre and corn fields producing an average of 160- to 165 an acre.
Some areas are doing better than that, he said, depending on the soil quality. “It depends on the dirt and how it lays,” Gesling said. “There are some fields producing 70-bushel beans and 200-bushel corn.”
Some of that, he said, also had to do with a wet spring that left some fields with drowned spots, where too much water collected, throwing off yield averages where crops did not grow well. “Some parts would yield 10 bushels, others, 50, throwing the average off.”
Regarding other crops, Gesling said they had not seen enough milo to make any predictions.
“And wheat is going in, there’s a saying ‘plant wheat in the dust and your bins will bust,’ we could have one of those seasons coming for our wheat farmers.
Back to the weather, Gesling said it was a bit of a good thing.
“It’s kind of a good little break. Elevators are starting to fill up. When we get a plug there, things pile up for the farmer, the delays can be costly. We were close to 20,000 bushels here, this will give us a chance to ship it out and have room for the product.”
Regarding the product, one thing that is different from last year is the moisture. Farmers and elevators are spending a lot less, he said.
“Last year in September we had to dry a lot of beans, about every bushel that came in,” he said. “Farmers had to run their fans…With the last month, beans are coming in with eight percent moisture, normally they would be 10- to 13-percent.”
Most of the corn they are taking in is being shipped east for livestock feed, he said. So far, he said, they are not sending any to the ethanol plants, where the margins for that business have improved.
Farming with his cousin Kevin Smith in the Clark area, John Smith echoed some of what Gesling said.
“It’s been a good harvest, we’re getting a lot of good yield,” he said. “The weather has been fine. This little bit of rain is the first stop we’ve had. Tomorrow it is supposed to be back in the 80s and we’ll probably get going again.”
Like Gesling, he said, if anything, the soybeans might be a touch too dry.
Regarding another crop, Gesling said he has seen plenty of hay. “It could be kind of unfortunate for the people wanting to sell hay. There is a lot out there this season.”
Another good thing about this year’s season, Gesling said was the price of incidentals, specifically fuel and fertilizer. “Fertilizer is going to be lower than any time in the last five or so years… including potash, the historical low will allow producers to get better commodity prices. It could be a good run for a lot of farmers.”