Early Harvest in Illinois

We got harvest underway last week, and we’re getting into our corn. We always try to start the day after Labor Day — come hell or high water — which we did this year. We still have a couple hundred acres to go, but our yields are all over the board. Some is really good, some not so good.

We had water damage this summer and ended up replanting 150 acres of corn and 500 acres of beans. But those crops are looking good now. We plant late-maturing beans here versus everybody else, so they’re still green — not even turning yet. But we’ve had four inches of rain over the last couple of weeks, and that should really help them. It was wet all the way through July, but then we ended up in a pretty good dry spell there in August. It didn’t rain at all, and we don’t irrigate, so we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. And now it starts raining again in September.

But with all the rain, our beans are looking really good. I think we’re going to have a good bean crop. We’ll shell corn for a couple more weeks until beans are ready, then we’ll switch to beans and go back to finishing corn at the end of October.

Working on the Cropping Plan

Colt, my AgVenture Yield Specialist was here today. He stopped by and brought lunch, and we went out and rode the combine. He’s been here a lot lately — the week before harvest and last week a time or two. We’ve been working on the cropping plan for a couple weeks now, and the way I look at it, 2015 is over. We just have to gather it up. Harvest is the start of the 2016 crop year, and everything we do from now on is about next year’s crop.

We’ve had ideas for the varieties we’ll plant next year. Some I planted this year, and I’m keeping an eye on them through harvest. We’ll start looking at how things performed and what worked and what didn’t. So that will help us narrow down the varieties for next year.

2015 Successes

One success this year was definitely flying on the urea at tassle or right at pre-tassle. We flew on another 50 units in the airplane, and we’re pretty certain that between the urea and the fungicide, that brought us an extra 50 bushels. We had some fields that did get it and some that didn’t right beside each other, and there’s a big difference. Yield, moisture, everything. Right down the line.

We’ve also held pretty much everything in check in terms of diseases. There was a lot of northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot in the area, but of course we sprayed fungicide, and we’re not finding too much yet. Not even anthracnose. We’ve been looking, trying to find it. If we did have any anthracnose, we’d be harvesting that first. That’s part of what Colt’s been looking for — looking at the conditions and trying to get a harvest plan. We may not be cut and done, but we sure have been busy.