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Boone County

Marshall Newhouse

Marshall Newhouse farms with his wife and daughter’s family. They grow corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, and raise pastured turkeys for the Thanksgiving market. They have just started organic production on a 72-acre field.


For the last week we have enjoyed a stretch of cool and dry weather. Starting around Oct. 10 people began nosing back into the corn. Since Oct. 15, bean dust has been flying. I’m putting the county’s bean harvest near 60 percent complete. We are down to our last 250 acres and it will be good to get them out. We aren’t picking only one way yet, but the reel is forward and low in some varieties. It almost feels like a mad dash to get through this harvest before the next threat of weather plays havoc with stem and stalk. Most of the corn is under 18 percent, but on our farm it will have to wait a few more days. I’ve only picked No. 2 corn twice in 39 years -- maybe 2018 will be the third year.


As of today, October is officially … wet. Between 5 and 10 inches have fallen over the county during the first 10 days, and harvest has progressed at a snail’s pace. The forecast is for clear and dry, and if that is the case, I’ll take it. Most everyone is thinking about when to get back in the fields. Sunday afternoon, we’ll be picking some organic heirloom Bloody Butcher corn by hand. Three-quarters of an acre between a dozen of us should be fun. Come on over if you are free. We will train you.


We found a few hours Thursday to get into the corn. Showers from the last few days amounted to 2.3 inches. With the wind that accompanied it, the toll is beginning to be felt by crops in the field. We have a bunch of corn either tipped over just above the ear or laying over about a foot above the ground. A shrinking portion is standing well. Our ideas of an early harvest are disappearing in the pools of water that are now standing in the low areas of all the fields. We will go when we can, but unfortunately it won’t be in a hurry.


We dodged a bullet with the last front. Big winds southwest of us knocked corn over, but just a .2 of an inch shower fell on the east side of the county Tuesday evening. I can’t believe I’m picking corn in September let alone have it be under 20 percent. A third of my beans are done. The next third will be cut during the weekend, and the final third will hold until the second week in October. My yield summary for the county - if your ground is on a slope, this is a big crop. If your best ground is flat and black, it’s a decent crop.