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Northern Missouri crops show most potential

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As harvest arrives, some parts of the state have been able to get timely rains and could see good yields. However, the scattered nature of some of the rains means yields could vary. 

As crops dry down and farmers shift into harvest mode, Missouri’s crops look to have a lot of variety. While some parts of the state have battled drought in 2022, much of northern Missouri is expecting above-average or excellent yields, although even within those areas there is variation based on where scattered rains hit.

Wayne Flanary is a University of Missouri Extension agronomist based in Buchanan County, and he says the weather has generally been agreeable.

“We were fortunate here,” he says. “We were able to get our crops planted in a timely manner. The corn is excellent.”

Rains during the summer months provided a big boost to crops, although as is often the case with summer rainfall in Missouri, it was scattered and some fields got more than others even within a small area.

“We were able to get some timely rains,” Flanary says. “They were spotty, but they helped.”

He says the soybeans in his northwest Missouri area generally look decent, although the key month for soybean production saw some drier conditions.

“We were a little dry in August,” Flanary says. “That knocked some of the top (yield potential) off of the soybeans.”

But overall, Flanary says it has been a good crop year in northwest Missouri. Speaking on Sept. 13, he says a small amount of harvest activity had started, although most farmers were waiting on fields to dry down some more.

Across the state, in northeast Missouri, Nick Wesslak says it was a fortunate year there as well. Wesslak is an MU Extension agronomist based in Marion County, and he covers several counties in that part of the state. Summer rains helped crops after a slow start.

“We were fortunate to catch some timely rains,” he says. “We were late getting everything planted. It just would not stop raining, and it stayed cold.”

While it might not be a record year, Wesslak says it should be a success for area farmers.

“The crops are looking good,” he says. “Not gangbusters, but good.”

Wesslak says some of the later-planted soybeans might not be quite as good as the others, depending on whether a certain field caught scattered rains or not, but overall they are still decent. He says many farmers would get rain on one field but not on another nearby.

“The rains we did get were patchy sometimes,” he says.

Wesslak and Flanary both say their areas had some tar spot issues, but nothing severe.

Derek Fuemmeler farms in Chariton, Howard and Randolph counties in north central Missouri. Speaking on Sept. 12, he says farmers were eager to get going full swing on harvest but are having to wait a little longer for the most part.

“Harvest is off to a very slow start around the area,” he says. “Corn moistures are 19% and up. Some are shelling and running their dryers, but most are still anxiously waiting. Soybeans are rapidly maturing.”

Some parts of Missouri remained in drought conditions after a challenging year, especially in south Missouri, parts of central Missouri, and even a little of the northeastern corner of the state. But overall, less of the state was in drought conditions than during the height of summer.

According to the USDA Missouri Crop Progress and Condition report released Sept. 12, just 5% of the state’s corn crop had been harvested. According to the same report, 10% of the state’s soybeans were dropping leaves.

Harvest time has arrived, and Wesslak is eager to start seeing the yields and getting a clearer picture of what kind of crop year this was.

“This year has flown by,” he says. “It seems like just yesterday we were planting corn. I’m excited to start seeing some numbers from harvest.”

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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