This might be our last report for the 2017 season, but the season is not over here in northern Illinois. Quite a bit of corn, and even a few soybeans, are still in the field waiting for the combine. It was kind of a weird year. It started out good, then the spring rains came. Then, it turned dry -- real dry. The saving grace was the lack of extreme heat to go along with it. Corn yields turned out pretty uniform no matter what day they were planted. Soybeans, on the other hand, were much more variable. A dry August and September did a number on the poor soils, and our worst yield came in at 38 bushels. I’m not sure when the last time we had a farm average under 40 bushels. On the other hand, we had several farms with good soils average more than 80 bushels. See you next year.
A big shout out and a thank you to Gov. Bruce Rauner for approving the emergency harvest permit allowing a 10 percent increase in gross vehicle weight for vehicles hauling agricultural commodities. The process was fairly simple, although a little time consuming. The permits were free, but you needed one from the state, and each county and township that had roads under their jurisdiction. It’s starting to dry off a bit, so the harvest pace is picking back up. There’s a chance of a light rain in the 10-day forecast. If we can get through that OK, harvest in northern Illinois should be on the downhill side.
Rains held off long enough last week that we were able to finish soybean harvest, and now we can concentrate on corn. Moisture levels are running between 18 and 20 percent, but at some point, we will get into corn that was planted the last week of May and the first couple of days of June. If the moisture is around 25 percent, the dryer won’t be able to keep up. Yields are running average to above.
Another .75 of an inch of rain to start the week pushed back what I hoped would be the finish of our soybean harvest. We were able to get back in the field Thursday afternoon when the moisture of the beans dropped to almost 16 percent. Not where I usually want to start, but the weather forecast for Friday night (Oct. 27) is for snow showers. If things work out, and we can get an earlier start Friday, we should be able to finish just ahead of the snow, I hope.