Mike Wintermantel was harvesting what corn he could today. He's still waiting on the rest of it to dry out.
"It's going to be an extremely late harvest," said Wintermantel, who farms west of Baldwin City. "I think it's the latest harvest I can remember. My first harvest was 1987."
While the remaining 80 to 85 percent of his corn stands in the field drying, Wintermantel plans to move on to soybeans Thursday.
The corn harvest, already late because of a delayed planting season, is off to a slow start in the Lawrence area this year, as some local farmers have moved on to cutting soybeans. The corn and soybeans still standing are likely to survive the next several weeks it will take to harvest them, as long as there aren't extreme weather events before then.
"The corn harvest is a little later than what we usually see," said Bill Wood, director of Douglas County Extension, "but I know there's been some years that combines are running in late November or early December."
He added that with the harvest of the two largest crops in Douglas County underway, motorists on country roads should be on the lookout for tractors and semis.
Chris Hetherington, who manages three Lawrence-area grain elevators for the Ottawa Cooperative Association, said the biggest one-day take he's had so far was about 25,000 bushels of corn; when harvest is in full swing, he usually gets at least twice that on a daily basis.
"The corn's having a hard time drying down. We're still at a point where we're getting started and having to stop. The moisture of the grain is still too high," Hetherington said. "Some guys have already started moving over to soybeans. Everything coming in seems dry. The yields seem to be pretty decent so far."
Despite the late harvest, Wintermantel expects to have a good crop for both his corn and soybeans. The corn he's picked has ranged from 110 to 145 bushels per acre, and he predicts that the remaining corn will be better still. "Matter of fact, we've probably harvested more corn per acre than we have the last two years combined," he said.