Archive for Thursday, September 25, 1997

RAIN CONTINUES HARVEST DELAY

September 25, 1997

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Douglas County farmers may have to harvest in mud if rain keeps falling.

Recent rains have watered down area crops, putting the fall corn harvest on hold and causing soybean farmers some pre-harvest worries.

Garry Keeler, Douglas County's agricultural Extension agent, said about 30 percent of the county's 25,000 acres of corn had been harvested before the rain started last weekend.

"The rain is beneficial for the wheat that's been planted, but it's not what we need right now," Keeler said.

The corn crop is not in immediate danger from the rain, but it could begin to rot if the wet weather holds for several weeks.

The National Weather Service is reporting that the weekend will bring drier weather and sunshine for the state. Today through Saturday, high temperatures should be in the 70s to 80s, but rain will creep back into the picture by Sunday.

Wednesday's high temperature was in the 60s.

Soybeans will also be harvested soon. Soybeans are more susceptible to moisture than corn. Too much rain for soybeans could cause a plant's pods to swell and burst, spilling the beans on the ground and ruining them.

"The corn can stand in the field for a long time," Keeler said, "but the soybeans can't."

Local grain elevator operators have seen sporadic deliveries of corn, sorghum and soybeans.

Mike Murray, manager of the Farmer's Cooperative Assn.'s south grain elevator, said more than 100,000 bushels of corn have been delivered. He expects Douglas County farmers to produce at least 500,000 this season.

"We've done just a little soy, but we expect the corn to start up soon," Murray said.

Keeler said the county has about 10,000 acres of sorghum and 35,000 acres of soybeans.

Most farmers don't want to harvest wet crops for two reasons -- they take a dock in pay if grain elevators have to dry their crops and equipment can damage fields when harvesting in mud.

But if the rainy weather continues, farmers may have to harvest regardless of the conditions.

"It may come that we have to get the crop first and worry about the fields last," Keeler said.

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