I have only seen a few soybean fields remaining to be harvested in our area. They were all grouped together so I’m guessing they’re all for one farm – or a small group of farmers waiting for a certain custom-combining operator to come to their area. Meanwhile corn harvest for dry grain is starting slow. Temperatures as much as 20 to 25 degrees less than normal have just not helped corn dry down at all.

In addition multiple snow showers of about an inch or so that have stuck to the plant have kept combines from going. Filling the semi-hoppers at night to take in first thing in the morning didn’t work well either. The high-moisture corn along with near-zero-degree nighttime temperatures froze corn to the hopper walls – and necessitated crawling into the hoppers to sweep out the frozen corn.

Many farmers are harvesting corn with moisture levels in the low-20s to as much as the mid-30s. Local elevators are offering a half-price drying discount to help offset the cost. It’s also to encourage farmers to proceed with harvest and not delay further into the early-winter months. Most rural farm-drying setups are not lucky enough to sit close by a natural-gas-line route, so their grain dryers depend on propane gas as an energy source to fuel their dryers. A combination of more propane being used to dry wetter-than-normal corn harvested earlier and south of here in Iowa, Illinois and southern Minnesota, along with the less-than-normal temperatures leading to earlier home-heating conditions have led to the short-term rationing of propane. With the elevator’s drying discounts and the unavailability of propane to fuel their own dryers, farmers with their own drying facilities are choosing to harvest and take wet corn directly to the elevator. They’re dong that rather than delay harvest or wait for propane to dry corn themselves.

The forecast for the upcoming 10 days to two weeks is for warmer temperatures and hopefully sunny dry conditions. Those conditions may even take the frost out of the ground and allow for a little more fall tillage or manure application. A reminder – online registration for the Wisconsin Corn/Soy Expo is available. We need to have more farm families from central and northern Wisconsin attend the exciting and educational event. Visit cornsoyexpo.org for more information.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable Thanksgiving, spending quality time with family and friends. Drive safely if traveling.

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Don Lutz of Scandinavia, Wisconsin, is one of the Wisconsin representatives on the board of the American Soybean Association. He farms 1,350 acres in Waupaca and Portage counties with his brother and nephew, as well as finishes Holstein steers. Lutz is retired from the National Agricultural Statistics Service of Washington, D.C.