The early corn harvest in Douglas County is underway, though most farmers are waiting for their grain to dry more before they cut it.
Some area farmers have started cutting corn for silage, or feed for their cattle, while the majority of producers likely have a few more weeks to go before the harvest begins in earnest. With Mother Nature involved, though, that’s always subject to change.
“When you end up with a week to 10 days of 90-degree-plus weather and no moisture, it could come along quicker than we were anticipating a week ago,” said Bill Wood, director of Douglas County Extension. “I don’t see any rain forecast, so we could be harvesting corn and grain in 10 days, though I think the majority of it will be beyond that.”
The plants are mainly still green at this point, a result of the recent rains and late planting season, so what’s being cut now is mostly silage and high-moisture corn, he added.
Either way, 2013’s local corn harvest figures to be better than the last two, when a severe drought hurt production. Wood says he expects yields to be closer to the eight-year average of 99 bushels per acre (that number was 46 last year).
Steve Wilson, of Baldwin Feed Co. in Baldwin City, said it could be another month or longer before the area corn harvest gets underway. However, he predicts the yields will be better than the past few years, particularly around Baldwin City, which he said received rain at just the right time, around midsummer.
Ideally for harvest, the weather would be a little less hot and dry right now. Plus, local soybean fields are also maturing and in need of moisture.
“If you can talk your weatherman into getting us another inch or two of rain in the coming days,” Wood said, “you’d make a lot of people happy.”