View From the Cab

No Room at the Bin

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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Farmers Genny Haun, of Kenton, Ohio, and Kyle Krier, of Claflin, Kansas, are reporting on crop conditions and agricultural topics throughout the 2018 growing season as part of DTN's View From the Cab series. (DTN photos by Pamela Smith)

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (DTN) -- No-vacancy signs are a common thing at bin sites and elevators throughout farm country.

Genny Haun and Kyle Krier have been voicing reservations all fall about whether there would be enough storage to accommodate a bountiful harvest. "I got turned away at three elevators in two days this past week," said Krier, who farms in central Kansas near Claflin.

"Soybean storage is still available, but finding a place to take milo has become a problem. And that's pretty much what is left to harvest here."

Drizzle and light rains complicated harvest this past week at Layman Farms near Kenton, Ohio, Haun said. "We've been able to pick and choose fields to keep going. But I'm afraid we're out of places to put soybeans right now. We've even filled trucks that we don't normally use to haul grain."

"The yields we're experiencing are a good problem, but we are still figuring out where we are going to put some of it," she added.

The two farmers have been reporting on crop conditions throughout the 2018 season as part of DTN's View From the Cab series. Here's what's happening in their part of the farming world:

KYLE KRIER -- CLAFLIN, KANSAS

More rain was in the forecast for Krier and his portion of central Kanas. "Every creek, every river, every pond is full. Everything is saturated," said the Kansas farmer. "Don't ask how many times we've been stuck this fall."

He has 150 acres of milo that has yet to see a combine. "I planted a later, full-season variety and it still looks good. We've not seen any sprouting in the head, but the longer it stays in the field and wet, the more chance we'll see some quality issues," he said.

Kansas farmers who planted earlier-season milo varieties and got the crop harvested early reported some impressive yields, he noted. "I've heard about some 150- to 160-bushel-per-acre yields. The fields still standing look amazing -- I just hope we can get at them." Elevators are becoming picky about moisture levels they will take as storage gets tighter and tighter, he noted.

The latest USDA National Ag Statistics Service Crop Progress report pegged Kansas sorghum as 95% mature and equal to normal for the state. Harvested was 32%, behind 41% last year, and well behind the 55% average.

Krier felt fortunate to find a window to blast through soybean harvest, but getting wheat seeded on those acres has been another story. The farm is completely no-till, so that helps planting prospects. He and his father, Kirby, would like to get another 1,000 acres of wheat seeded, but it's all dependent on weather.

"The plan is to go all day and all night as soon as we can and as long as we can. We've had calls to do custom seeding, and we'll try to work some of that in. But with the weather forecast, I've been careful about making promises on how much we can get seeded."

USDA rated Kansas winter wheat planted at 76% this week -- that's behind 82% last year and 89% for the five-year average. Emerged wheat was 62% --ahead of 55% last year, but behind the 70% average.

Oct. 31 is the final crop insurance planting date for wheat in his area. There is a late-planting period for wheat that stretches into November, Krier said. "We will watch the weather more than the date."

Growers can still obtain crop insurance if they plant after the deadline, but the coverage will be reduced. A possible extension on that deadline is something Krier said he would support. "I think they could bump it five days and make a big difference. As long as the weather holds up, the wheat will be fine," he said.

As a crop insurance salesman, Krier has been using the weather delays to plow into paperwork. "That -- like the rain this year -- seems to be never-ending," he said.

GENNY HAUN - KENTON, OHIO

Drizzle, overcast conditions and cooler-than-normal weather don't favor harvest, but Haun said the weather may have been a blessing in disguise this past week.

"Rain moved in last Friday afternoon, and we had just decided to call it quits when the combine operator called and said he smelled smoke," Haun said. It turned out to be a bearing was glowing red hot -- a situation they were able to remedy before a fire started.

"I don't like to think what might have happened if we hadn't been slowed [by weather]," Haun said. She also noted that beans have been particularly dusty this year.

While corn harvest has lagged in the area, they were able to tackle some soybean acreage this week. The family rented some acreage south of the home farm this season and used it to isolate non-GM soybeans being grown under contract.

"We knew those five contracts were going to take some time because they are located on smaller plots and equipment has to be cleaned between varieties," Haun said. "The nice thing is the farmer we're renting from had some storage available that is working out well to segregate those beans."

Overall, Ohio farmers had about 64% of the corn harvested, according to USDA Crop Progress reports as of Oct. 29. Soybeans were recorded as 75% harvested.

Haun said soybean yields are running about 15 bpa better than the farm averaged last year. She said the non-GMO soybean varieties were yielding slightly less than those containing traits. "The varieties we're growing seem just a bit more sensitive to climate and conditions. And, to be fair, the soils aren't quite as good where we have them," she added.

It's also the time of year for dry fertilizer and lime applications. That's keeping her husband, Matt, busy. In fact, some personnel situations have everyone pitching in wherever necessary this fall.

Her father, Jan, has several auctions to call coming up on the calendar. Genny and her mother, Cindy, also get involved with helping clerk those sales.

"This year has just seemed to have a lot of twists and turns so far," she said. "But when I think of all the natural disasters taking place across the country, what we're experiencing seems mild. We feel grateful."

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

(AG/ES)

Pam Smith