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Lee County

Larry Hummel

Larry Hummel of Dixon has been farming with his brother since 1975 in the corner of Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside counties. They raise corn, soybeans, and a little wheat.


Harvest began in earnest here in Lee County. Wednesday’s rain slowed things down a bit, but combines started to roll again by Thursday afternoon. We were still on the sidelines as we got our new combine ready to roll after it finally showed up last Friday. A little bit of corn has come out, but everyone is concentrating on soybeans for now. Yields I have heard so far have ranged from 50 on up into the 70s. Those do not sound like record-breaking yields to me, but might be enough to get us above average.


A few combines have started to roll here in Lee County. I haven’t heard too many hard numbers yet, but everyone seems to be happy with the yields - not excited but happy. If Illinois is to reach the USDA estimate of 214 bushels per acre for corn, there had better be a lot more people excited about yields and not just happy. We should have some soybeans ready to go in the next day or two. Hope I’m excited once the yield monitor starts to tally the numbers.


The rainy days seem to just blend together, but I believe the total for the week is a little more than 3 inches. A fairly large area north of us had wind damage a week ago with parts of cornfields laying flat. On top of that, tar spot has killed some fields prematurely. In the worse fields, leaves were completely shut down from photosynthesis, and the plants robbed from the stalks to finish out the ear. Early harvest will be a must in those fields to avoid heavy harvest loss. Soybeans have really laid over from all the heavy rain and wind.


It has been rough watching the grain markets wallowing in what I hope is the basement for this coming crop. But the hidden killer is the basis levels. At the local elevator, soybean basis for September delivery was running a negative dollar under the futures. Putting cash prices in the low to mid $7s. Corn wasn't any better at 53 cents under, that would net you around $2.93. I don't know about you, but that’s disgusting to me. I guess it wouldn't be all that bad if I could average 350-bushel corn and 100-bushel soybeans across the whole farm. Sorry I dozed off a bit and was dreaming.