Production Blog

Corn Is Still Wet, But Clock Ticks

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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The first days of harvest have been good ones for Matt Bennett, Windsor, Ill. Grain moisture is a bit wetter than he might like, but rain events have been plentiful in September and he doesn't want to risk loss of stalk and grain quality. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

WINDSOR, Ill. (DTN) -- Matt Bennett had to stop the combine to wait for another grain cart on Wednesday, but he wasn't complaining. The yields are that good in this part of central Illinois.

The first field he opened up averaged over 250 bushels dry weight. The field was coming in around 25% moisture. Riding shotgun, I watched the yield monitor consistently put up wet yields in the 300-bushel-per-acre range. The yield consistency was a stark contrast to most years when yields spike as one bounces through the field.

"I have a sentimental attachment to this field," said Bennett. "It was the first piece of farmland I ever bought -- while I was still in high school. It doesn't have the tile drainage of some of my other fields, so I'm expecting good things in days to come."

Bennett participated in several days of the Midwest Pro Farmer Crop Tour this year and was a little shy about broadcasting what his fields could potentially yield during the tour. Several of the regions he sampled in Nebraska on the western leg of the crop tour had been dramatically damaged by hail and other weather events. He's experienced years when others had a crop and he didn't -- it doesn't feel good.

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The Windsor, Ill., farmer is also a consultant for Channel seed company and has a side business helping farmers manage risk. Knowing where every penny is going has never been more important than in a year when prices are low and production is potentially high, he noted.

Knowing what yields to expect is equally important. He walked every one of his fields prior to harvest this year, carefully taking samples and yield measurements. He abandoned on-farm drying several years ago because he has access to cheap drying that is also nearby. Grain trucks and carts swooped across the landscape like the ever-present barn swallows trying to keep up with the corn pouring into the hopper.

Chewing through the still somewhat green stalks takes combine power and human patience, but Bennett was afraid to wait. Stalk rot and ear molds are always a concern in a wet year. So far, he hasn't seen problems and doesn't want any.

"My corn is still standing pretty well, but I've been in some fields west of here that are going down. We haven't had the rains that some have had in our region of late, but this crop is too good to risk letting it stand much longer," he said.

He added that a smaller, 8-row head was helping with the wetter corn. "I'm not sure I could get a 12-row to do this as well," he added.

Soybeans are hard to measure prior to harvest, but Bennett said his pod count measurements suggest he'll see 70-bushel soybeans or better. Some of those soybeans are dry and ready to cut and he may switch to that crop next week and let the corn crop dry a bit.

"This year has been about as perfect weather-wise as I can ever remember," said Bennett, who just turned 40. "But a good crop isn't enough. There's profit to be made in this market for the guys that tend that side of business too."

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

(AG)

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Comments

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Pamela Smith
11/22/2014 | 5:53 PM CST
Thanks Matt. You always stir up a conversation!
matthew bennett
11/20/2014 | 1:57 PM CST
Raymond I work with quite a few producers managing risk...I farm full time and broker full time. Every guy I work with made good money this year, but we did have our crops hedged well in advance of harvest. I agree many guys are struggling, especially if they didn't manage their price risk, but just because the harvest lows were setting in when you were posting doesn't mean people didn't make money this year. It's going to be tough to make money in the next few years, but it will definitely force guys to become much better businessmen.
JAMIE KOUBA
10/6/2014 | 12:59 AM CDT
thank you Ray, the truth is we are all screwed, should have PP'ed the whole crop this year cause with these prices we can't afford to do that either next year. There is no way crop insurance will be worth crap in 15'
Raymond Simpkins
9/30/2014 | 7:49 AM CDT
Mark No one is whinning just reality!You still didn't answer the question.Show me some figures.I showed the numbers it takes to produce a crop.If he didn't save any money that's not good, this is not going to be a one year thing. You say more than likely so you don't know for sure.We farmers are our own enemies,we don't like to admitt that we are not making money.
Mark Dieringer
9/29/2014 | 10:27 PM CDT
Matt Bennett owns the land. Matt Bennett more than likely has already sold his crop. Matt Bennett is making money. Matt Bennett didn't squander his profits from previous years. Quit whinning
Raymond Simpkins
9/28/2014 | 11:55 AM CDT
No! I mean how is Matt Bennett making any money with todays prices!
Pamela Smith
9/28/2014 | 6:14 AM CDT
There's no question that we saw production problems in several regions of Nebraska, western Iowa and Minnesota while crop touring in August. However, the regional problems we saw there don't erase the fact that there are many pockets of outstanding crops this year.
Raymond Simpkins
9/26/2014 | 7:47 PM CDT
Nobody will answer that one will they?
andrew mohlman
9/24/2014 | 8:51 AM CDT
Nebraska yield report on beans lower than expected after being told how great they were a trend I expect too see more
Raymond Simpkins
9/22/2014 | 9:26 AM CDT
Oh I forgot crop insurance! Good bye $20.00.Nothing left to buy Obamacare!
Raymond Simpkins
9/21/2014 | 8:18 PM CDT
Who is he kidding? Rent-$300.00 Potash-$45.00 Seed-$100 Starter$45.00 Herbicides-$35.00 Nitrogen-$60.00 thats $585.00 an acre with no fuel or equipment cost not to mention interest and deprecation.If he's only 40 he hasn't farmed in hard times yet. But he will soon.So corn at $2.90 minus .40 cents drying .08 trucking leaves 2.42 corn x 250 =$605.00 minus $585 leaves him $20.00 an acre to pay for equipment and feed his family.Plant More Corn!!!
Unknown
9/19/2014 | 8:56 PM CDT
2 dollar corn u need leave it in the field its not worth it