|Late corn harvest delayed yet again due to snow|
|Written by Chris Lee|
November is more than half over and there are still many fields with standing corn left all around northeast Colorado.
This year’s harvest is two to three weeks later than normal, according to Steve Young of Grainland Coop. With the 1.5 inches of snowfall on Sunday, Nov. 15, farmers were forced to sit out another couple of days to let things dry up.
Both Young and Steve Bahnsen of Paoli Farmers Co-op expect harvest to expand well into the first half of December.
Initial numbers from the 2009 corn harvest show moisture a little on the wet side. Both Grainland Coop and Paoli Farmers Co-op said moisture is running between 17-18 percent.
Numbers show harvest is about 25-30 percent complete in both places as of Monday, Nov. 16.
Young said the corn coming in is a little wetter than last year. With snow falling as early as it did this year and the moisture included with that snow, everything was slowed down and delayed.
Some farmers were holding off in hopes of letting the corn dry out a little more and some were just ready to get into the fields and were picking a little wetter corn than normal, according to Young.
Young said irrigated yields are down 10-15 percent from last year while dryland yields are up. The wet and cool summer the area experienced was beneficial to the dryland corn.
“The cool weather in general was not as good to the irrigated corn,” Young said.
Irrigated farmers would like to see a lot of heat and that wasn’t the case this past summer.
“Most of the fields are dry enough where the farmers can go. There are still some fields that are too wet,” Young said.
The quality of the corn is still good despite the later harvest, according to both Young and Bahnsen.
There has been a lot of talk about mold on ears, according to Young. “We’ve seen a little bit of that but it doesn’t seem to be a big problem,” he said. “I would say test weights are lighter than what they were a year ago and I think that kind of goes along with the cooler weather.”
Young said the corn closer to the state line was hit the most by hail and storms this past summer. He mentioned there were some places where the corn wasn’t even good enough to be harvested.
Beet harvest near completion
The area beet harvest is nearly complete, according to Justin Herman, agriculturalist for Western Sugar. Herman said they have about 270 acres left to dig and hope to be finished by Friday, Nov. 20 or Saturday, Nov. 21, weather permitting.
Herman said the Holyoke crop is below average. A big reason for this was the amount of moisture received this year. The beets also saw a yield reduction due to the hail. Herman said there were some good fields and then some well below average.
The recent cold temperatures have affected the later part of harvest. Herman said they have seen some frost in the crowns and have made an effort to have those beets hauled directly to the factory.