We done yet?
By Brandy Harrison
BURFORD Jesse Kloepfer saw no reason to stop the combines: his corn wasnt getting any better.
“We combined Grade 4 corn in October and were picking Grade 4 in December,” said the Burford crop and dairy farmer who was about two-thirds finished harvest on Dec. 2 and not willing to let corn sit until spring. “Were trying to get every bushel we can. It was the year from hell. Im not sure whats been more stressful: planting or harvest.”
With some of his corn flattened by the wind storm on Nov. 24, it was slow going, combining in one direction. “If you drove by, youd think someone had already combined it,” said Kloepfer.
Corn was coming into the elevator at 27 to 30 per cent moisture, he said. He still hopes to make an average yield even though his June-planted corn lost 40 to 70 bushels per acre.
Between five and 35 per cent of corn was still in the field as of Dec. 3, said OMAFRA corn specialist Greg Stewart, noting that on average harvest is usually done by Nov. 20.
Later-planted corn isnt drying down and moistures barely fit to be harvested 34 per cent and higher held up combines.
If corn withstood wind that flattened anywhere from five to 30 per cent of corn across Western Ontario, some farmers might leave it until March, said Stewart.
Yields are above average for earlier-planted corn on lighter ground but below average for later planting dates on heavier soil, and Stewart wasnt sure yields would hit the provincial average.
Late planting 60 per cent after May 25 and a cool July were the culprits, he said.
Essex crop farmer Brendan Byrne wasnt sure what his corn would amount to.
“Ordinarily, wed get real muggy, hot weather thats uncomfortable for us but the corn would shoot up. This year we didnt have much of that,” said Byrne, who runs Byrne Brothers with his father, Brendan, and his uncle, Joe.
They harvested at high moisture to be done by Nov. 22 with mostly No. 3 corn thatll likely average in the 140- to 175-bushel range. “It was just time to go in, get it off, and tie a bow around this harvest.”
Dublin crop farmer Jeff Van Loons yields were surprisingly good from 165 to 215 bushels per acre but test weight was low, and he was three weeks behind.
“Its been a struggle from the word go. It was tough to get in and the stuff that didnt get in early is staying wet and the yield is not there. Ill just be happy when its done.”