2014 Fall Farm Outlook:
By Derek Hurley
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[November 05, 2014]
in Illinois would likely tell anyone else that this year has been a
good year for planting crops and keeping them healthy in the field
as far as the weather goes. As a result of unusual harvest-season
weather, the harvest has dragged on longer than usual, with other
areas of farming life being impacted.
According to reports from Illinois Farmer Today, farmers are
experiencing a high level of stress during this harvest season. The
reappearance of wet weather has repeatedly set back the starting
dates for many farmers in Illinois and in other parts of the
Midwest. Some farmers have reported not being able to start their
harvest until the end of September or even later. This was the case
with Jeff and Mark Foltz, who farm out of Scandoval.
For other farmers closer to central Illinois, harvest was
progressing at a normal pace until the end of September, when sudden
rain appeared dropping two to three inches rain in some areas.
Fortunately, the dry conditions prior helped prevent conditions from
According to USDA reports as of early October, only thirty-five
percent of the Illinois corn crop had been brought in by the famers.
This is much lower than the previous five-year average for incoming
crop percentage in October, which hovered around fifty percent at
A similar trend was observed with soybeans and their harvested
amounts. As with corn, soybean estimates were sitting at around
twenty-nine percent as of early October. This down from the average
of the last five years, in which soybean harvests sat at around
fifty-two percent at the same time.
Despite the hardships that farmers experienced during this harvest
season, the USDA is confident that there should be above average
yields this year once the crop has been brought in. Illinois famers
are feeling the same way, and they are taking every opportunity they
can this year to get out in the fields and bring in their crop.
Another effect of the slow harvest has been a late planting of
winter wheat. Normally, October is the prime month for planting
winter wheat. It is not an absolute necessity, but it is typically
the month for planting. According to the University of Illinois Ag
offices, winter wheat needs two weeks of time in the ground before
going dormant in the winter months.
Furthermore, due to the wetter harvest season, famers planting
winter wheat will need to keep a sharp eye out for toxins and molds
that grow in wet conditions.
Wet fields also present a hazard for farmers working in heavy
machines. Soil compaction will become an issue for farmers this
season as they attempt to harvest in wetter soil.
Speaking of vehicles, some farmers may resort to using more
drivers to bring in the crops faster, in an attempt to make up for
later harvests, which will increase road traffic. Increased traffic
means all drivers will need to remain alert on the road, especially
if farmers are trying to drive in with crops after nightfall.
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Finally, if push comes to shove, some farmers recommend waiting
until the ground is harder due to lower temperatures and a light
frost. However, a hard frost could set in, resulting in crops that
are too cold to harvest, or even grain split due to the cold.
Overall, the weather has resulted in a difficult year for harvesting
in 2014. However, if the farmers keep on pushing forward, they can
fight the wet weather and still bring in a very good crop this year.