KNOXVILLE – Almost summer-like conditions in the last week have allowed farmers to stay in fields harvesting crops.
Dale Miller, county extension director said, “There has been a lot of progress this past week. For this part of the state, 65 to 70 percent of the harvest is complete.”
Even with nice weather, farmers are still not where they should harvesting.
“Historically, they're a little behind,” Miller said. “The dry down of the grain has been the main factor.”
Corn pulled too early can cost more money and create problems. The ideal moisture percentage farmers like to see in corn is around 15 percent. Corn pulled early has to be dried. Some methods of drying use electricity or LP gas. This can be costly.
Even with good harvesting weather, it's better to leave corn in the fields and wait. Waiting helps alleviate potential storing issues.
Soybean harvesting is a little behind. Some soybean fields have not completely dried out.
“When soybeans have more green stems its harder to process,” Miller said.
Farmers have been pleased with grain yields this harvest, but it hasn't been consistent from one field to the next.
“Yields are all over the board,” Miller said. “There's such a variation with soil.”
Some fields have better soil structure than others. Soil structure is the amount of clay, silt and sand in the soil. The ratio breakdown of the three determines how water, air, and roots move through the soil.
Yields aren't looking bad. “Fortunately this year we've had fairly uniform rainfall,” Miller said. “We didn't get really hot. It's been a good year from a weather stand point.”
Miller said soybean yields have been higher than expected averaging 60 to 70 bushels per acre.
Corn yields have ranged from 150 to 250 bushels per acre, “with some higher than 250,” Miller said.
With nice fall weather continuing Miller expects “grain movement to be moderate to heavy.”
“Things are generally going well,” Miller said. “Everyone wants to get it out. It's all logistics, [getting grain out of the fields] and getting it to the grain elevator.”
With warmer weather, farmers might be tempted to start weatherizing the fields for spring planting. Nitrogen is sprayed on fields to stabilize soil .
“Be efficient with nitrogen use. Wait for soil to be consistently below 50 degrees, Miller said. “Don't be in a hurry. Wait until it's timely. It will be the best value for your dollar.”