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Harvest Report: Early Harvest With Lots of Yield Variation

Ryan Miller (left), Case IH Combine Product Specialist for Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, is pictured with one of his customers, Jeff Writsel of Circleville, Ohio. Jeff’s dealer is Hill Implement, Circleville, Ohio.

With this post, we begin a new series featuring Harvest Reports from Case IH Combine Product Specialists based throughout North America. Case IH Product Specialists are located in the field, close to the customers and dealers they support. They bring a unique level of local, specialized product expertise and do everything they can to help their customers Be Ready. To kick off the series, we feature guest blogger Ryan G. Miller, the Case IH Combine Product Specialist for customers and dealers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Ryan, who originally is from western Kansas, is in his third full harvest season with Case IH. 

The corn harvest in Kentucky is closing in on 90 percent complete, while soybean harvest hasn’t progressed as quickly. In the southern portions of Indiana and Ohio, producers have started to harvest corn (as of Sept. 10, about 10 to 15 percent complete), but they haven’t touched soybeans in most areas.

Kentucky is traditionally ahead of other states’ growing seasons due to geographic location. For example, some producers in Kentucky planted corn as early as March this year, so the corn crop was ready even earlier than usual.

The extremely dry spring, summer and fall accelerated the maturity of the corn crop even more, and some producers were in the fields harvesting as early as July 10. Most of the producers I’ve talked to say they’ve never seen harvest start this early.

If you were to draw an east-west line at Indianapolis, south of that line is very drought-stricken. North of Indianapolis, there were pockets that had moisture, but very spotty. In the southern region, I’ve seen yields ranging from 20 bu/acre to 130 bu/acre. We have some very poor corn with small, irregular-shaped cobs, and we have some decent corn yields in areas that received moisture.

Because the drought was so severe and widespread, the soil type hasn’t played a huge role in yield averages, nor does the variety used seem to matter. If a crop doesn’t have moisture it doesn’t have moisture, and it doesn’t ever have a chance to fully mature. Ironically, the residual effect of Hurricane Isaac has brought substantial rainfall to some parts of the region in recent weeks. But now, it’s more of an inconvenience than anything else, because it’s keeping some producers out of their fields. Still, the rains should help increase subsoil moisture levels.

North of Indianapolis, yields have been somewhat better. I’ve seen 150 bu/acre yields in some areas but in very few, as rainfall has been very spotty.

It can be difficult to fully demonstrate the many benefits of a Case IH Axial-Flow combine when it’s not being pushed to its full potential. However, customers appreciate the better fuel efficiency of the Tier 4 engines and faster unloading rates of the 30 series Axial Flow combines.

I’ve been helping customers with their combine settings and adjustments for drought-stricken crops so they can have a successful harvest. We’ve conducted over 30 combine clinics in the three states to help customers understand the most effective settings and adjustments. We’ve also held “New Owner Trainings” to assist owners who are either new to Case IH combines or have a new combine and want to learn how to operate it most efficiently. You can watch this video to learn more about Case IH Axial-Flow combines.

Are farmers disappointed with the harvest? Of course they would like to have better yields. They don’t have the same excitement about harvest they’ve had the last few years, but they also understand that financially, they’ll be OK.

How is the harvest season progressing in your area? We’d like to know and we appreciate your feedback. Look for future harvest reports in upcoming blog posts. It’s all part of our efforts to help you Be Ready for the challenges and opportunities associated with farming.

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