A time to reap
WEBSTER CITY – Although combines and their attentive grain wagons are not yet out in full force, a few area farmers got their fall harvest season started late last week and continued Monday.
With surrounding soybean fields still standing around him, Cliff Mickelson, of Duncombe, was harvesting corn Monday afternoon along Hamilton County Road 27, three miles north of Webster City.
Mickelson was combining a 100-day Pioneer variety in a continuous corn field. He said he planted several yield checks in his 150-acre field, trying to determine if using a starter fertilizer at planting, paid off at harvest.
He said he needed roughly a 9-bushel yield bump to make it work.
It was a time-consuming business, he said, because each plot with starter and without starter, had to harvested, unloaded and yield-tested separately.
With just 35 of the field’s acres reaped, his results were inconclusive.
He said in a separate field with first-year corn, the same variety had yielded better on Sunday.
“So there is definitely a yield drag in continuous corn,” Mickelson said.
On Monday, the checks with the starter showed yield advantages over no starter, but these were widely varied, he said.
“I have checks all over,” he said, “so later this year I’ll have all the information.”
Lodging was a problem in this field. As he worked, an insurance adjuster was looking over the field investigating wind damage.
“This variety is known to have stalk problems,” Mickelson said, “but it’s supposed to be a real race horse in yields.”
Mickelson was being assisted by an employee Tristan Miller, of Duncombe, who operated the attending grain cart, and by Kyle Maas, Pioneer employee, who was conducting the yield tests.
Just nine miles south and west of this activity, Mickelson’s cousin, Tim Mickelson, and his employee Matt Northrop, of Stanhope, were running a pair of Case IH combines harvesting Tim Mickelson’s 245-acre soybean field.
Mickelson said he started combining on Sept. 18.
Monday afternoon he was harvesting an early variety soybean that he planted in late-April.
Moisture content was ranging from 12 to 13 percent, he said.
He said he expects to see increasing numbers of farmers harvesting soybeans later in the week and into next week.
“The beans are drying down fast,” Mickelson said.
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