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Friday, October 27th, 2017

Ag officials report 'decent' harvest

By Nancy Allen

A farmer harvests corn north of Celina on Wednesday evening. Ag officials in Mer. . .

Local corn and soybean crops fared better than expected considering weather issues experienced earlier in the growing season, ag officials say.
Fall harvest, which is about three weeks behind, remains underway in Mercer and Auglaize counties.
"The farmers are really pleased," said Anita Green, executive director at the Auglaize County Farm Service Agency. "It dried down pretty quickly, and they are pleased that they are not spending a lot of money and time having to do a lot of drying."
Michelle Stahl, Mercer County FSA executive director, said recent relatively dry weather has helped ramp up the harvest.
She expects the remaining fields will get done in a few weeks and doesn't anticipate any more weather-related issues.
"I think it will be pretty decent," Stahl said of the remaining harvest. "We're supposed to get some rain this weekend and then go back to dry."
Wet conditions in March and April had farmers worried about how their crops would do this year, with many having to replant, Stahl and Green said. Then it got too dry in August. The weather issues combined with crops that matured later due to replanting delayed harvest, Stahl said.
Celina-area farmer Dennis Howick said he finished harvesting soybeans last week but only has 30 percent of his corn off. He had to replant about 10 percent of his corn this year due to excessive rains.
"It's a little better than what we expected," Howick said. "If we had not had some of the rain in April, March and May, things would have been better but then we needed a rain pretty bad in August."
Howick said his soybeans this year are about average and his corn looks "pretty good."
In Mercer County about 35 percent of the corn and 70 percent of the soybeans have been harvested. In Auglaize County, about 55 percent of the corn and 95 percent of the soybeans have been harvested, ag officials say.
Mercer County corn yields are ranging from 150 to 200 bushels per acre and soybeans from 40 to 60 bushels per acre, Stahl said. The average county corn average is 180 bushels per acre and for soybeans it is 50 bushels per acre, she said.
Auglaize County corn yields are ranging from 129 to 270 bushels per acre and soybeans are ranging 42 to 72 bushels per acre, Green said. The average county corn average is 169 bushels per acre and for soybeans it is 51 bushels per acre, she said.
Both FSA directors characterized the quality of the corn crop overall as above average. Stahl said Mercer County's overall soybean crop is average to above average while Green said Auglaize county's overall soybean crop is average.
Yields for soybeans were a bit more impacted than corn by the dry August weather, Green said.
"We could have used a bit more rain in August to make the crop optimum," she said. "That took about 10 bushels off that bean yield."
Both crops for the most part so far are disease free with a few exceptions.
Stahl said she had heard a few reports of corn rust, a fungal disease promoted by wet, cool conditions.
Market prices continue to remain weak, prompting more farmers to store their grain until they can hopefully capture higher prices later, Green said.
"Cash flow has been tight in recent years, so some of that stored grain will be sold to meet the downturn," she said.
Government interest rates remain favorable to finance on-farm storage and associated equipment such as grain silos, silage bunkers, grain carts, unloading augers, semis and grain trailers, she added.
"Some farmers have increased their on-farm storage in recent years through constructing new storage," Green said. "Then they can take time to market (their grain) when prices are at their lowest, which is typically at harvest."
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