From field fires to the first snowfall in Illinois, farmers have had an interesting week of harvest conditions. This week’s roller coaster forecast will continue to bring challenges as the CropWatchers 2.0 team sets their eyes on finishing harvest.
“It’s not Dec. 19. It’s Oct. 19,” said CropWatcher 2.0 John Bartman while standing outside of his combine as snow fell in McHenry County Monday. “I think this is the earliest I remember snow with harvest.”
Watch: CropWatcher 2.0 John Bartman shares a snowy harvest update.
In Kankakee County, CropWatcher 2.0 Greg St. Aubin said things have been moving along great. “Our soybeans are finished and are about average as far as yield,” he reported.
While corn harvest is underway, he shared yields are all over the place. “First planting is good except for the thin stands in places where replant wasn’t done. The replant corn is actually very good yielding and dry. Wish we had torn up more corn,” he added.
Reflecting on what’s gone well this year, St. Aubin noted the purchase of a vertical tiller in the spring made a “phenomenal difference in planting.”
“We have now covered every acre so far this fall so we can try to no till into the soybean stubble this spring,” he noted. St. Aubin is trying out cover crops for the first time this fall.
He shared an important reminder for farmers moving equipment through heavy traffic areas and around obstacles such as bridges.
“Obstacles are numerous, and bridges may be shorter than grain tank hoppers,” he share. “An eight-hour trip to Demco in Spenser, Iowa gave me plenty of time to think about where my tape measures are located.”
CropWatcher 2.0 Colby Hunt was happy to report soybean harvest complete. He still has a few weeks of corn harvest left on his McDonough County farm.
Looking back on his soybean harvest, switching combine brands seemed to make a difference. “A little faster and fewer breakdowns made for the quickest bean harvest in a long time,” he added. Hunt also added folding corn heads to his lineup has helped sped up the move from field to field.
Across the state, 66% of Illinois' corn crop and 81% of soybeans are in the bin, according to Monday's USDA Crop Progress report. USDA also reported 73% of wheat planting is complete in Illinois and 25% of the crop has emerged.
In Moultrie County, CropWatcher 2.0 was also able to wrap-up soybean harvest last week. If the weather and equipment cooperate this week, corn harvest will be complete, too.
“Yields have been good but not great, but we kind of expected that going into this fall,” he reported. As combines take out their last rows, Roney is making progress on other fieldwork.
“We have been able to get quite the majority of our soybean stubble subsoiled and other fieldwork done thanks to some help from a friend who took two weeks off work to help out this fall,” he added. “I was also able to get most of my annual ryegrass/radish cover crops planted last week as we were finishing up soybean harvest.”
Roney primarily utilizes family to help with field work in the fall but was thankful to have a couple family friends lend a hand recently. He noted it was nice to take some pressure off his mom and uncle to fill in everyday and hopes to continue to grow his support outside of the family.
CropWatcher 2.0 Bryce Williams reported harvest is still underway. “We lack about 700 acres of beans,” he said on Monday. The White County farmer is also busy sowing wheat.
Reflecting on something positive from 2020, Williams said he has been impressed with the outcome of spraying residual chemicals in the fall, making a clean field ready to plant in the spring.