The 2009 harvest season is now completed. See the weekly reports below that were posted throughout the season.
December 12th We finished up harvest on December 12th. This has been a challenging growing season from the planting delays in the spring due to wet weather through the wet harvest and finally snow covered harvest. We are thankful for being done.
The last couple of weeks of harvest are somewhat of a blur now. We were able to make good progress around our home area during the last segment of harvest. The new grain system worked well and we were able to keep up with 2 16-row combines, at times taking in more than 100,000 bushels per day. The grain storage is all full now.
The tillage crew was able to keep up around home as we harvested. All the tillage work is done around the home area.
We finished harvest back in the Farmer City area on the fields we left behind earlier. Severe winds hit those fields in the first week of December. The corn was down and twisted up but we were able to get through OK. There is still tillage work to be down in the south but we will have to wait for the frost to thaw. We may get an opportunity to get back in the fields to do the remaining tillage work if it warms up.
Overall yields were average this year with some fields good and others not. The extremely wet and cool conditions throughout spring and summer took there toll on the corn, especially on the fields in the north.
Below are some pictures of the harvest activity over the last several weeks. The pictures are not as pretty as they were in the beginning of the season. The machines (and the operators) are getting dirty and tired.
Week Ending November 14th We had a fairly productive harvest week in Farmer City. We were able to run all week with very good weather. We were limited somewhat by the capacity of the local grain elevators to take wet corn. With all of the wet corn coming in this year, grain dryers at the elevators have not been able to keep up and they have had to stop taking in corn early in the day, sometimes by noon. In order to keep harvesting in the afternoons, we started hauling wet corn north to our grain set-up at Yorkville. This is a long distance haul. It is about 100 miles one way and it takes the trucks about 4 hours for a round trip. At times we had over 10 trucks hauling north.
The tillage crew was able to get going again by mid week after the field conditions got fit again.
On Saturday we moved our combine back north around the home farm so that we could get going on corn up there and avoid the shortened elevator hours around Farmer City.
The grain setup on the home farm is now fully functional. We have a few minor issues to work through but the system is keeping up well with the wet corn. We are glad to be back running around home were we can utilize the new system and run longer hours. Corn moisture levels around home have been running 22-26%. We are glad to see these levels after hearing reports of a lot of corn still testing above 30%.
Week Ending November 7th We had a good harvest week. We were able to run Tuesday afternoon through Saturday in the Farmer City area. The fields finally began to dry out after the excessive rains from the previous week. Corn moisture levels also dropped several points this week with the warmer temperatures. Most fields are running 25% moisture and below. Yields continue to be good with most field averages over 200 bushels per acre.
The local grain elevators have begun to shorten their operating hours as they get in too much wet corn for their dryers to keep up. Area farmers have gotten done with beans and have switched to corn. Some elevators are starting to shut down their dump pits by noon. With the shortened elevator hours, harvest will be dragging on for while. We are looking into hauling corn 100 miles north to our home facility in order to keep the combines running all day.
Tillage work is still on hold with the wet soil conditions.
Below are some photos from this week's work. Lee is pictured with his trusty #18. Brad and Gavin search for some dry corn to haul home.
Week Ending October 31st It was another slow week for harvest progress. Heavy rains kept us out of the field most of the week. We were able to try corn in Farmer City in Wednesday and Thursday but field conditions were not good. Normally we would not try to run in these conditions but with time ticking away we tried to go. We got our tracked grain carts stuck for the first time ever. The ground was so soft that the mud can start to push in front of the tracks, causing the carts to drag until they get stuck. We switched one of the cart tractors out for the Cat 865B tractor from our tillage crew. That tractor has over 500hp with wider tracks and it was able make it through the mud.
We were very impressed with the tracked combine in the mud. It was able to make it through and even pull the stuck carts out of the mud.
More rain hit the area late in the week making for even wetter conditions. We are praying for some sunshine for next week.
Below are some shots of the challenging conditions from the past week.
Week Ending October 25th We started the week harvesting soybeans in Farmer City. We had about 750 acres of soybeans this year. We were able to get them all out on Monday and Tuesday while the sun was out. Finding sunning days to take out soybeans has been a challenge this year will all the rain and cloudy days. Moisture levels on the beans were 13 to 14%. Yields were good with field averages of 65 bushels per acre. The Birky combines helped us with the soybean harvest and then they went to take care of some other soybeans they had to harvest.
On Wednesday we got back to corn harvest. We are still trying to find some corn to pick with reasonably low moisture levels. The field we did on Wednesday was 27 to 28%. Still relatively wet but not too bad considering we are hearing about a lot of 30%+ corn coming out of fields. We are going to have to decide if we wait for the corn to dry more in the field (which is not likely) or if we keep going on it and pay the cost of drying. Given the late date on the calendar, we will keep going.
The harvest crew was shut down by rain on Thursday for the week. We had over 2 inches of rain at the end of the week. More mud.
The tillage crew was able to make some good progress this week. Our dedicated crew ran some long hours including one all-nighter trying to catch up with the combine while the ground was fit. Soil conditions are not the best given all the rain but it is time to keep the tractors moving when we can.
Week Ending October 16 We were only able to harvest for two days this week with wet conditions keeping us out of the field later in the week. Yields continue to be good with most field averages above 200 bushels per acre. Corn moisture levels have stayed at around 25% for our April planted corn. Later planted corn is still above 30%. Hopefully dryer weather will return next week and the later planted corn will continue to dry down in the field.
We now have about 1300 acres harvested but a long way to go.
Below are some pictures of the machines running briefly this week.
Week Ending October 9th We started corn harvest on Monday October 5th. We started in the Farmer City area on corn planted in April. Harvest moistures have been running around 24% on the early planted corn. The May planted corn is still in the high 20's to lower 30's. Yields have been very good so far with field averages over 200 bushels per acre.
We are again running a Cat/Lexion 595R combine with a 16 row head. The tracked combine will again help us get through what is already proving to be another wet fall.
The wet conditions limited harvest progress this week. We were only able to run about 2 days this week dodging the rain. We were able to get out about 670 acres for the week.
We are again using Birky custom harvesting to assist with some of the harvest. They have two Lexion 595R's with 16 row heads that we run along with ours. On Thursday we harvested 130 semi loads of corn with the three machines.