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Watch now: Farmers see high yields as harvest season ramps up
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Watch now: Farmers see high yields as harvest season ramps up

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DECATUR — After what has been described as a good growing season, harvest is shaping up to be an above average year for both corn and soybean crop.

“I think everybody is pretty pleased,” said Mike Stacey, a local farmer whose family has worked on land in Niantic since 1964. “We’ve been good on schedule for corn harvest and yields are somewhat better than last year.”

With the fall season upon us, farmers in Macon County are starting to harvest their crops and recent dry weather has kicked the process into gear while local grain elevators prepare for the lines of trucks ready to stockpile their product.

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Tim Stock, executive vice president of the Macon County Farm Bureau, said a lot of farmers are starting their harvest earlier in accordance to the weather, but they are also getting a lot of the tillage and field work done for next year’s crop.

Stock said it’s still fairly early to know exact yield numbers but everyone he has heard from seems to be moving at a steady pace and are satisfied with what they have so far.

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“With harvests, farmers are really at the mercy of Mother Nature,” Stock said. “We’ve had a couple rain days here about a week and a half ago that set them back a couple days but we’re all right on pace as far as timing of harvest and maybe even ahead in actual harvest this year."

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According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week, Illinois is ahead of the curve with 21 percent of corn harvested as of Sunday compared to the 12 percent harvested last year and the 18 percent average reported over the last five years. 

As for soybeans, only 10 percent has been harvested in Illinois, which is the same amount as 2020 and below the five-year average of 11 percent.  

In terms of the condition of crops, 51 percent of the corn harvested is reported in good condition and 21 percent is in excellent condition, while 52 percent of soybean crops are reportedly in good condition and 20 percent is in excellent condition.

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Dale Plumer, general manager at Heritage Grain Cooperative, said corn harvests can have a high variable yield difference ranging between 60 to 70 bushels an acre and soybean harvests can range between 15 to 20 bushels.

“It tends to be wetter in the western part of our territory than in the east where there is just better drainage,” Plumer said. “There’s a lot more ponding in the western fields than maybe in the eastern fields.”

So far Plumer said 50 percent of corn crops have been harvested in both the Bethany and Dalton City areas, while 20 percent of soybean crops have been harvested, which is above statewide averages.  

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Plumer also said farmers will be encouraged to store less of their harvest this year since the price of corn is near $5 a bushel and soybeans are reaching over $12, which makes a perfect opportunity to turn a profit.

“The quality of the grain is great and the weather’s been overall good,” said Kevin Walker, general manager of Legacy Grain Cooperative. “If you’re looking for reasons why the market may have disrupted the harvest, Hurricane Ida had an impact on prices in the export market which impacted our local market.”

Across their four locations in Blue Mound, Moweaqua, Sharpsburg and Stonington, Walker said 65 percent of corn crops have been harvested while 20 percent of soybean crops have been harvested.

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Walker said because of the reports of higher yield rates this year a lot of the action surrounding grain storage has been fast paced and has even set new records for two of their grain elevators.

T.J. Curtin, a farmer with Curry Farms, said while waiting in line at the Heritage Grain Blue Mound elevator that they have been moving fast and almost all of their corn crops are harvested because of problems with stock quality and the high yield rates they have been noticing.

Though they have not moved much of their soybeans yet, Curtin said it’s not an issue as long as the weather stays consistent and leaves time for the crop to drop its leaves.

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“We’ve gotten a great start this year and we’ve got plenty of time before the weather’s gonna change so everybody just needs to take their time and be safe,” Curtin said. “We’ve all got families to go home to at night and I think everybody can take a moment to be safe.”


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