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Field Notes

NCGA's tenth season of Field Notes is in a new blog format. Check back for quick looks into what real farmers see in terms of crop progress and gain insight into how the crop of 2020 is doing from firsthand sources.

Nov 23, 2020

Illinois Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

“Harvest turned out fairly well this year. Both our corn and soybean yields were above average. We still have 80 acres of beans left standing on reclaimed ground from coal mines. It has been very wet, and they will probably remain standing until next spring. We had a seven-inch rain, waited a few days to try and get back to harvesting. We got stuck with two combines stuck and had to inch out. I don’t trust reclaimed ground to freeze fully enough and to not give way in those conditions. We cut beans out there in the spring before and it didn’t turn out that badly.   “We have hauled all of the corn for our November contracts, and we’ve been working on cleaning our equipment to get it ready for winter. We probably have more corn in storage this year than ever before, and we have contracts for December and January. It will take a while to get the crop hauled and delivered.”   Jim Raben, Illinois farmer

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Nov 16, 2020

Ohio Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “We have a rain delay today with half of the corn left to harvest. Soybean harvest is finished here. We finished that before hitting a two-week delay due to wet weather at the end of October. That really put us behind schedule. We aim to be done by Thanksgiving.   “Our yields are good so far. Hopefully, after all the wind last night, the corn is still standing. We are excited and ready to wrap up, but there is quite a bit of corn left to be harvested in our area.”   – Patty Mann, Ohio farmer  

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Nov 2, 2020

Nebraska Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “Snow slowed us down a bit this week, but we will be done quickly once we get back in the fields. Corn yields are above average, and the quality is strong. This harvest has been one bright spot in 2020.”   – Andy Jobman, Nebraska farmer  

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Oct 26, 2020

Missouri and Kansas Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “Our corn crop is good this year. Yields so far are above to well above average.   This morning, we got enough snow to cover the deck. The higher moisture contents due to this could keep them out of the field for a bit. Otherwise, conditions have been good.   “We already finished harvesting soybeans and switched back to corn end of last week. In all, we have about seven to ten days of harvest left.”   – Addie Yoder, Missouri farmer     “As of last week, we were about 35 percent finished with corn harvest and 80 percent done with soy. Our corn yields are good, and I am surprised by how well the soybeans did considering how wet August and September were. Hopefully, we can wrap up by Halloween or early the week after that.”   – Lowell Neitzel,  Kansas farmer  

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Oct 19, 2020

North Dakota and Minnesota Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “The next five days will be even more interesting than the last. Forecasts call for one to three inches of snow tonight. I haven’t seen an amount yet, but Thursday holds the potential for snow, and we could get a full foot on Sunday.   “The good thing is that, if we can run most of tonight until midnight or one a.m., there will only be about 80 to 100 acres left standing.   “It is interesting. We have combined two corn crops of 16 percent or less moisture corn in five and a half months.   “To date, the harvest has gone well in terms of weather and not having the challenges of the last two years. That has been a blessing.   “This year, corn is 13.5 to 17 percent moisture with good test weights, for us, above 56 pounds. Our fields on the higher ground did well with above-average yields. The fields that we are in now couldn’t handle the water and have reduced yields. There was flat out too much water.”   – Randy Melvin, North Dakota farmer   “Corn harvest is coming...

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Oct 13, 2020

Illinois and Ohio Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

“We have about 800 acres of corn left to harvest and, from what we are seeing, yields range from 20 bushels per acre over average to average. The corn has been consistently wet though, with moisture around 18 percent. So, we have had to dry the corn this year.   “Our farm always plants side-by-side trials of corn. The weather event the night of the derecho this summer showed which varieties best withstood strong wind.”   – Jim Raben, Illinois farmer     “Right now, we’re cutting beans. The lowest corn yields that we have seen are in the 150 to 175 bushel-per-acre range. Most of the corn acres seem to have done average or better. The weather is great right now, and we just keep going.”   – Patty Mann, Ohio farmer

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Oct 5, 2020

Nebraska and Kansas Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “We are done with soybean harvest and planting cover crops on old bean ground. Next, we’re starting to harvest some high-moisture corn today or tomorrow.   “The corn is drying down well. We are anxious to get rolling and see what we have out there. The warmer-than-normal weather has helped dry down the crop. So, we should have a pleasant week to harvest, if we can keep the breakdowns away.   “The dryness from August hasn’t let up at all. Combine fires are in the back of everyone’s minds. We almost had one at the end of soybean harvest when a bearing that was going out on the combine-created embers. We stopped, put them out and made repairs.   “We’re weaning calves, and this has slowed down corn harvest. We plan on moving cows into corn stalks the minute we have a field or two harvested.”   – Andy Jobman, Nebraska farmer     “Things are decent. It looks like a majority of fields will have better than average yields. We’re still harvesting, but the weather has been...

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Sep 28, 2020

Missouri and Iowa Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

“Harvest is going well in terms of the corn yields we’re seeing. The moisture content is still high right now, but we are working at a good pace. We are keeping up with the drying right now. Last night, it rained a little, but it hasn’t slowed us down.”   – Addie Yoder, Missouri farmer       “Looking at our crop with the drone, our corn is standing well at this time. Yet, like everyone says here, the corn is variable.   “The moisture content has been 18 to 25 percent, and yields have been 170 to 200 bushel-per acre range.  Our kernels are better than I thought they would be. They are not shallow and test weights are okay.  I have heard of some low-test weights and low yields on lighter ground.  On our sandy soil, yields are in the 140s. All in all, I am happy with what I have gotten so far.  I have to remember I have had very little rain since July and most of it came in September.     “Maybe some agronomist can identify the brown/black on my corn?  It is in a small...

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Sep 21, 2020

Minnesota and Ohio Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

  “Our corn crop looks good. We harvested a couple of fields of soybeans this week and may harvest corn next week. We are excited about the way that they are looking.”   – Bryan Biegler,  Minnesota farmer     “We are getting very close to harvest. A couple of weeks ago, we thought we would be harvesting by now, but early September rains and cool temperatures slowed us down. Hopefully, we can begin harvesting here by the end of this week. Overall, it looks like we will have good yields.”   – Patty Mann – Ohio farmer  

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Sep 14, 2020

Illinois and North Dakota Field Notes

Key Issues:Production

“Harvest has started, and we should have soybeans in by Wednesday. Then, we will start with corn. We tried to harvest one acre that had been impacted by the strong winds here the day of the derecho. In an hour, we only pulled in 180 bushels. Hopefully, there are only the few, spotty acres that were hit, which is what we are seeing now.”   – Jim Raben, Illinois farmer   “We dealt with frost and a freeze September 8 and 9. We saw a low of 31 degrees, but there were 27- and 28-degree readings nearby. We’re still assessing the result this will have on our crop.   “On our farm, the biggest challenge has been getting 1.5 times the normal amount of rain in June, July, and August with soil that was already saturated going into it. Things looked much better a month ago. I am optimistic we will have an average yield from our corn, but it will be average at best.”   – Randy Melvin, North Dakota farmer

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