ALEDO, Ill. — Wet weather, which caused delays in planting and flooding on the Mississippi River this spring in Northwestern Illinois, is back this fall.
High waters on the Mississippi are again disrupting river traffic and complicating grain marketing plans.
Near Aledo in Mercer County, Kate Danner and her father, John Longley, harvested a field of soybeans in mid-October that brought a yield of 74 bu./acre.
“It was an experiment in early planting,” she said of the beans that went in the ground on April 20. She was pleased with the results of the early variety, and said she will plant them again next year — weather permitting.
But high water on the Mississippi River means it is currently closed to barge traffic. The basis at other elevators compared to the river elevators is 20 cents lower.
“That is huge when prices are not profitable,” said Kate, who is in her seventh year of farming.
The other option is to store the grain at home and wait until the river elevators are taking grain again. That’s in the Longleys’ plan this year. They have the advantage of storage.
“I can store 80% of my harvested crop. Dad and I believe in storage,” Kate said.
They use the old silos to temporarily store up to about 14,000 bushels of wet corn. Since the silos aren’t designed for long-term storage, the corn is all out in December.
The pair, who farm about 1,600 acres of corn and soybeans, started harvest Sept. 26 this year, alternating between corn and soybeans as fields are ready. On Oct. 15, John estimated they were one-third done with corn.
He drove the combine on some rolling hills where he disappears from sight. That field is also a challenge with stones, especially this year with the wet conditions. John wasn’t looking forward to it when they decided it was next.
Kate has a commercial driver’s license, so she drives the semi and hauls the grain carts.
During planting and harvest they get help from her husband, Jason, who also runs a field drainage tiling and excavation business. Kate, in turn helps Jason, off-season, so both businesses can succeed.
While the weather has played havoc on the timing of plans this year both in the spring and fall, John just shrugs it off.
“Every year is tricky,” he said.