Harvest 2018 is definitely undergoing a soft start this week. A handful of combines have ventured out, finding corn still in the mid-20s. I haven’t seen any beans go yet, but a few fields with early beans are just days away from being harvestable. The weatherman is doing a good job scaring combines back to the shed with excessive rainfall forecast in the next few days.
Last week saw the temperature and heat index to above where most would prefer with some rain showers mixed in. The precipitation may add some to the bean crop, but at this point the growing season is over and we wait for crops to dry down to harvestability. Stalk health in the cornfields looks pretty good, which is always a good thing. Next week may see some early birds out in the fields if they want to dry a lot out of it. I haven’t heard any takers on that idea yet.
The results are in for our Coles County Farm Bureau crop tour, with a whole county average of 207 bushels per acre. A local crop insurance provider also did his annual tour, and using the same basis as the Univeristy of Illinois Extension did for the Farm Bureau check, came out at 215 bushels. Grain fill conditions are exceptionally good as the kernels harden down toward the cob. A big inch of rain Monday should have sealed the deal on both corn and soybean crops. The first yellowing of soybean leaves has appeared in spots across the area. GDUs for late April planted fields would be approaching or just over the 2,600 mark, which means we will reach black layer stage in the next week, marking the official end of corn crop growth.