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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Oct 30, 2009

Who was the person who wrote early last August, a mere 90 or so days ago, about the approaching harvest being like a pinata? We knew there was a prize in there, but were not sure how much as we waved our stick wildly to break open the prize we were so eager to receive. That person was I.

After a somewhat rocky start to the spring, the summer had gone perfectly and, a mere 90 or so days ago, we were looking at concluding the best crop year ever. What happened?

Well, August sure was not typical. August is supposed to be warm and dry but was mainly cool and humid. By month’s end, we had our dry spell, which took the very top off our crop yields.

Since then, soybean yields have varied from disappointing to very good even on farms within a few miles of each other. I thought I had my best soybean crop ever until early September when white mold showed up in many places reducing the yield by 20 bushels an acre.

Those patches of white mold turned 60 bushels an acre soybeans into 40 bushels an acre and worse. I was predicting my soybeans would average over 60 bushels and acre and now I am hoping to hold 50.

This brings me to another problem. Here it is the end of October and we are only half way done with soybeans. Every year I can think of, soybean harvest goes quickly and is a warm up for corn harvest. Most last days of October in recent memory, we are going strong on corn and you can find empty fields where soybeans are completely done with some cornfields that may have even been fertilized and turned over ready for next spring.

Pheasant hunting starts next weekend and there is a lot of cover for pheasants everywhere. If you are a pheasant, this may be a very good year. I believe the pheasants are the only ones doing well in all this.

Here it is the end of October and harvest is way behind. Soybean yields have been disappointing and now the final problem, the quality of the corn crop is not good.

It looks like the corn crop will be good in quantity, but poor in quality. We worked our way through wet corn last year and it looks like we will again this year. However, light test weight and way too many fines were not something I was prepared for a mere 90 or so days ago.

This is the crappiest harvest since 1993, the year of extensive flooding and an early frost in September. How things have changed in a mere 90 or so days.

Our pinata of great expectations is going bust on us. We have gone from the best-looking harvest on Aug. 1 to the worst harvest in many years. I am not a superstitious person by nature, but a drastic change as we have had makes one suspicious of jinxes. Did I put a jinx on the crop with my premature optimism?

Baseball players are supposed to be as superstitious as any one group can be. I am beginning to understand their superstition. Years of playing ball has made them superstitious for a reason. Maybe they are on to something.

Maybe jinxes, hexes and curses are found in farming too because we are going through them right now. In the future, I will wait to tell of the great harvest until the crop is in the bin, not in early August.

Next, I will throw some salt over my shoulder.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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