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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Sep 21, 2012

The first field has been opened and instead of a soybean field as in most years, this year it was a cornfield.

This harvest is going to end just as strangely as it began.

My wife and I made a trip about 100 miles west of home last week and corn harvest was in full swing the entire way. There were whole fields that had been emptied so it was obvious that they were beyond just trying out the equipment or looking for places that were ready.

It was approaching hectic as we watched combines, semi trucks and tractors along our route. We had to remind ourselves that this was still the first half of September and corn fields were being combined.

We did see one combine opening a soybean field. Do you think maybe he was done with his corn harvest?

With the combines going, the guessing about what kind of a crop we have can come to an end as estimates are replaced by actual numbers.

Our combine’s yield monitor is indicating that we are going to have about three-fourths of a normal crop. For the stingy amount of rainfall we received, I am trying to figure out where this much corn came from.

The first load to be delivered and tested for quality had a test weight of 60 pounds. I was not expecting that either.

That was one load from one field. We have a ways to go yet and I am sure there will be more surprises coming, both disappointing and pleasant.

If we have three-fourths of a crop, then we will need only three-fourths of the time needed to complete corn harvest.

My son has decided that soybeans will wait until after the corn, another unusual occurrence for this year.

Back in the early 1960s, my dad was having a good year if he was done with corn by Thanksgiving. And he was harvesting ear corn, two rows at a time.

I remember combining corn on Thanksgiving Day even in the early 1980s.

What is going to happen this year? It seems safe to predict by Nov. 1, there will not be a standing stalk of corn or soybean plant anywhere.

Fields will have been prepared for spring with some tillage and fertilizer.

Equipment will have been put away for the winter by early November.

Then we will go through winter wondering how to sell what is left of this year’s crop that was not previously sold. The guessing is not over yet.

I concluded our Christmas letter of last year, after moving our house two miles and settling into a new location plus the arrival of a granddaughter, that the new year of 2012 would be less eventful.

I did not get my wish as this was a year for the books. Also, another granddaughter is due at the end of November.

My son is in charge of day-to-day decisions as he is the operator and we will work on him becoming the owner. My duties around here continue to diminish.

This was the second spring my help was required only for picking up a few large rocks. I was more of a spectator than a participant.

This fall I will be needed to run the combine and unload once again so I have not been replaced (yet).

My main daily duty is watching the grain market and making the decisions on when it is a time to sell and when it is a time to wait. It is a job I enjoy and requires no heavy lifting.

So this is how 2012 will probably come to an end, the year we could call Harvest Lite – less filling, much like some popular beers.

Then maybe next year could be less eventful. But don’t count on it.

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

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