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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.


Where do you start when you try to sum up this year’s growing season? I guess the best description right now is Unfinished Business. Soybeans are still to be harvested and a whole lot of corn is still standing. I wonder where we would be if all the prevent plant acres were planted, as I recall there were 60,000 acres in Lee County alone. But I’d rather finish on a brighter note. Some of the corn planted in the middle of June still averaged just under 200 bushels, most of the July beans were still in the 50s — not bad for what would normally be described as cheater beans. I will leave you with this: It has been an interesting year. Can’t wait until it’s in the rearview mirror.


This week included the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Good — we finished harvesting our soybeans this week as the snow began to fly. Bad — the chaffer and sieves had to be thawed out and cleaned. Ugly – 4 inches of snow on the ground and stalks. A few guys ventured out Wednesday and were fairly successful at keeping the sieves free of snow. Thursday was a little better. We need a lot of good days as there are quite a few soybeans left to harvest and maybe 50% of the corn crop still in the field.


Finally, some good weather for harvesting soybeans. Well, probably as good as you’re going to get this time of year. Moisture is running between 14.5% and 16%, but they are coming out. We should be able to finish them early this week as long as everything holds together. I was talking to a merchandiser for a local elevator today, and he said they have filled only 55% of their soybean storage and are usually about maxed out by now. Corn is way behind schedule at 39%, which is normally well over 80% full. I'm not sure what else is going to happen this crazy season, but at this moment LP is being allocated because of a shortage of product. Most everyone I have talked to is still harvesting corn at 25% to 32% moisture. That's a problem.


I broke one of my own rules this week. I am constantly telling the guys that if something breaks down start with the simple possibilities first, then move towards the more complex issues after you rule out an easy fix. The dryer has been acting up for the past week with the flame going out and shutting down. I started with what I thought was the easiest fix -- flame sensor not working and worked my way up the list. I worked my way up to the thought that the new controller we just put in last year was the problem. After about four visits from the repair team and multiple parts replaced, it was determined that there was a poor ground. START WITH THE SIMPLE FIXES FIRST.