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Lodged corn makes harvesting a challenge

Lodged corn makes harvesting a challenge

Sam Bieri installs a reel during harvest

Sam Bieri installs a reel during harvest Oct. 13. He and son, Shea, make the change to better harvest the corn downed by disease and wind this year. 

NEW BOSTON, Ill. — Corn harvest would have been a lot more enjoyable in northwestern Illinois this year without a drought and two windstorms, but Shea Bieri said it was still going quite well in mid-October.

Bieri started harvest in Rock Island and Mercer counties on Sept. 15.

“It’s the first time we ever started in September that I remember,” he said.

Usually in this area near Boston in Northwest Illinois combines start rolling in October.

The early date was prompted by dry weather and an effort to get corn with stalks weakened by wind and disease harvested as quickly as possible.

Getting the corn picked up was more difficult than Bieri expected. On Oct. 13, he was in the middle of putting a reel on the corn head to help address the problem of lodged corn.

“Yields are all over,” Bieri said about the wide range from 150 to 230 bushels per acre. “The good ground with nice dirt has decent yields. The not-so-good soil had bad yields.”

On the other hand, soybean yields are looking good this year at 60 to 70 bu./acre.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said.

Many more acres of soybeans have been harvested in Northwest Illinois than other parts of the state because of the drier weather here. It wasn’t until about the second week of October that enough rain fell to slow soybean harvest for a few days.

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Phyllis Coulter is Northern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.

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