Corn harvest gets off to slow start

Starting slow allows them to work out the bugs.

Corn harvest did indeed start last week, albeit slowly. Even with a 102-day corn planted the first few days we planted, moistures are still in the high twenties. We picked about 150 acres. Yields are not record breaking. They are +/- 10% from our APH (actual production history). Keep in mind we have only harvested one hybrid in three fields. In other words, they are average or maybe a little better….so far.

Starting allowed us to work the bugs out of the equipment. The first day was mainly spent setting and calibrating the combine and calibrating the scales on the grain carts. In doing so, we found an unbalanced auger in one of the carts. It shook the cart and auger to the point that we called the manufacturer for a warranty visit. We are afraid if it isn’t fixed well it will fail and something will break. We also ran long enough to find loose bolts on one of the stalk rolls on the cornhead. It broke a knife and jammed the roll. The head had just come back from the dealer who changed knives and serviced the head. We took it back and they re-torqued the bolts and checked it over again. We also had a couple sensors go bad on the combine.

This week we hope to do the same with soybeans. We should have a couple hundred acres ready. This will allow us to get the kinks out there as well. We serviced the draper head about a month ago, but have not had it on the combine yet. Hopefully we won’t have any issues there. Guys are getting eased back into work mode. If weather is good to us, we’ll start spreading manure and doing some chisel plowing. Cover crops have been in the discussion, but no decision has been made.

In all honestly, normally with grain moistures this high, we would have stopped after the first 5,000 bushels or so. However, the window for early delivery premiums has been extended to the end of this week. As a result, we’re trying to haul as much as possible to capture these premiums, not to mention create some cash flow. In reality it isn’t costing that much more to dry this corn as we would be harvesting it anyway at 25%. We figure maybe 5-7 cents per bushel extra drying cost.

We are contemplating a second combine. We’ve got a couple located we would consider purchasing. They’re worth the money, but still more than we would like to spend. The internet auction market has gained about 15% the last three weeks. We are also checking into the possibility of renting a machine. We had hoped an early start would negate the need for a second machine, but I don’t think that will be the case.


The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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