Harvest Season Underway

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Bret Palmer harvests milo on Graves Farm at Nimmons last week. (Courtesy photo by Bret Palmer)

Harvest is just beginning for Clay County farmers, but "next week will be in full swing," Clay County Extension agent Andy Vangilder said.

Soybeans are leading the way in acreage with 116,753 acres planted, and rice is following behind at 70,654 acres. Corn acreage is 24,775 and grain sorghum or milo is higher than it has been in years with 13,049 acres. More than average preventive planting acres were turned in this year due to wet weather, making the planting season shorter. A total of 34,000 acres never saw a planter.

Grain sorghum and corn will be the first crops harvested, but all crops were delayed by a slow, weather driven planting season. However, milo harvested "looks good," Vangilder said. "We are having trouble getting it dry enough to cut." The grain sorghum has come into the picture at the perfect time as many fields were starting to lose their yield production in years past due to nematodes. Grain sorghum reduces nematodes in fields, which allows nutrients to begin returning to the affected areas and gives crops like soybeans a better yield next year.

There has been some trouble with sugar cane nematodes due to the increase in milo crops. "It's been a little difficult, because this is the first time we've had to deal with them," Vangilder said. However, everyone is still learning at this point. Also, prices have fallen somewhat since planting season, but farmers who booked prices early should have a good return on the crop.

Corn is late, but the acres that have been cut are showing a slightly lower yield than usual with about 180 to 190 bushels per acre. Normally farmers would prefer 210 to 220 bushels per acre. "We have some great fields, but it's still just too early to call," Vangilder said.

Rice harvest has not begun yet, but some farmers are looking to begin to salt rice. Salting rice is how farmers get the plant to dry to a harvesting point. However, what is almost ready, "looks really good," Vangilder said. The weather has been rather dry and warm lately, which agrees with the stooling plant.

Soybeans have had some insect issues with bollworms and hard worms, but treatment of insecticide knocked the insects back. Soybeans have also had a hard time with frogeye disease, and "a lot of acres were treated with fungicide to help kick the disease," Vangilder said. Funguses tend to be a bigger problem during damp, wet years. Farmers have done well treating insect and fungus issues, and "it's going to be a good year for beans," Vangilder said.

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