Machinery Chatter
Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter

Tuesday 11/26/13

Quinn Farm Update: Successful Harvest Completed

Harvest on my family's small eastern Nebraska farm is completed for another year. Overall, things went fairly smoothly, despite some hiccups along the way.

As many farmers across the Corn Belt can attest, the last three growing season have seen extremes to both sides.

In 2011 and 2013, we had good moisture during the growing season and yields were high -- in some cases record high. Wedged in between these years was 2012 and we saw a severe drought in which crops did not receive nearly enough moisture and yields were low.

These three years individually are not surprising as you have good and less-than-good growing years in farming. But when outlying years occur back-to-back-to-back it makes for stories you can tell your future grandchildren someday. Well, that is if they get off their futuristic electronic gadgets -- which haven't even been invented yet -- to listen to you.

Yields this fall, as they were in 2011, were pretty amazing, at least on the corn side. Our soybean yields were probably pretty close to average, but the corn yields were in the same neighborhood as two years ago when we saw our highest yields around 180 bushels per acre on the dry land, rolling hills of eastern Nebraska.

This comes on the heels of some of the worst yields I had ever seen in 2012. There was a lot of double-digit yielding corn in our region last year, and our worst field yielded right at 40 bpa.

To put that in perspective, our soybeans pretty much yielded that much this growing year. Ouch.

And on top of the high corn yields, most of it was coming out of the field right at 15% moisture. The hot weather we had in September helped to cure the crop and allow dry-down to occur.

Taking to other farmers and our seed dealer during harvest, I know there were areas within our region that had higher moisture corn. Some farmers were forced to harvest corn with elevated moisture levels in that 17% to 20% level.

Luckily we didn't have that problem. Although, I guess thinking back, this issue affected us indirectly. There were a few days in the middle of corn harvest when the lines at the elevator were very long as the wetter corn slowed down the entire delivery process.

Our biggest problem at harvest was the general slowness, which a high volume of crop brings with it. With more bushels to move, the availability of hired truckers was extremely low.

We usually hire a trucker to haul our corn to town while we use our two straight trucks to haul soybeans to the elevator. We have 4-5 guys who can usually haul for us, but with demand high with the large crop this fall we ended up hauling every bushel of our crop this harvest.

The other issue we had this harvest season was rain delays. It wasn't a lot but enough to keep us out of the fields for a few days each time.

A farmer recently told me he would be okay having a drought every October. I would certainly agree with that statement.

And, of course, we were not without machinery breakdowns during harvest. I got to know the inside, backend of our combine much better after replacing some parts a couple days, and our one straight truck had to have the brakes redone. But the optimist in me thinks it could have been worse.

The pessimist in me thinks that will occur next year during harvest.

So harvest is over but there are still some other chores, which need to be completed before winter comes.

Spring calves still need to be weaned and round bales of hay still need to be hauled home.

We take the sides off the one straight truck and haul with this outfit and a pickup pulling a flatbed, gooseneck trailer. A handful of days' work and we will have the hay hauled, hopefully before the snow begins to fall.

There is always something to do on the farm.


Posted at 2:44PM CST 11/26/13 by Russ Quinn
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