Madison County residents may have noticed this week farm equipment along the roads in greater numbers and fields filled with combines and loading trucks — all signaling the start of fall harvest 2017.

But don’t say because it is still September that this is an “early” harvest. County wxtension educators point out a September start isn’t out of the ordinary.

“Actually, in Madison County last year we started at about the time of Farm Science Review in September. That was a very dry year,” said Madison County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, Mary Griffith.

She said this year, soybean harvesting started last weekend after Farm Science Review. “It was just getting dry enough then,” she said.

“Based on who I’ve talked to so far in different parts of the county, soybean yield so far in these early acres, yields are looking pretty good.”

She said she has talked to people who are averaging in the 50s and also the 60s for bushels per acre. “From what I’m hearing, people are pretty happy with the average yields. But we haven’t gotten into the replanted acreage yet,” she cautioned. “It will be interesting to see what we will be looking at in a few weeks.”

Regarding the Madison County corn crops, Griffith said it appears many people are waiting for the moisture content to come down. “I saw a lot of people shelling corn today, but I haven’t talked to anyone yet about what kind of yields they are seeing.”

Griffith has been riding in several combines since harvesting started this week. “You can tell where the wet spots were for sure,” she pointed out. In early July, Madison County saw more than 14 inches of rain fall in just four days, during the week of the Madison County Fair. This led to replanting crops in some flooded fields.

“It looks good with soybeans. But we will have to wait and see since it is still pretty early. Nationally I know they are predicting some pretty large corn crops this year, so it will be interesting to see if we really come up with all the bushels they are saying we will,” she said.

Griffith said there may be a reason why more farmers are beginning to harvest their corn starting Wednesday and today. “Bloomingburg (the ethanol production plant) is looking for dry corn right now. So I think that is an incentive to get in the field today and tomorrow.”

She pointed out there are still a lot of green crops out there, “So I hope the cooler weather doesn’t slow this down.”

Clinton County Extension Educator Tony Nye said that in his county and neighboring Fayette County, “We are just now getting a good start.”

Like Madison County, most of the harvesting so far in Clinton County to the south has been soybeans. “There has been a little bit of corn. But if it is ready they are hitting it pretty hard these last few days,” Nye said.

He said some of the harvesting has been weather related. “The weather really kicked in to dry down some of the beans. Also, it may be because of when the beans were planted. There weren’t a lot of early beans planted in this area. But for some varieties, part of it is due to the maturity of the variety — there are different maturity ratings. So we will see certain varieties that will mature much faster simply because of their genetics,” he said.

In neighboring Fayette County, he saw a lot more corn being run than in his area. He’s seen an earlier start in harvesting corn in Fayette County the last couple of weeks. “Some of the moisture levels in Fayette County was running 20-22 percent. Most of the corn here (Clinton County) is running much wetter than that,” he said.

Going forward, he said the majority of the soybeans in his area in the next two-three weeks will be ready for harvest.

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Corn being harvested on a farm Tuesday on State Route 38 near Midway in Madison County. being harvested on a farm Tuesday on State Route 38 near Midway in Madison County. Gary Brock | The Madison Press
Early soybean yields in 50s, 60s bushels an acre

By Gary Brock

Reach General Manager/Editor Gary Brock at 937-556-5759.