About three weeks earlier than usual, the corn and soybean harvest for 2012 is winding down with some pleasant surprises. Considering the area has been in a severe drought, Agronomist George Schwint said yields in soybeans have been between 45-60 bushels an acre while corn yields have been between 145-200 bushels per acre. “These are very good yields for as dry and hot as (the growing season) was,” said Schwint. “Producers are very happy.” According to Wayne Schoper of South Central College, rain in August at just the right time added some 5-8 bushels per acre for soybeans. “Soybeans don’t like wet feet,” Schoper said, adding that they prefer dryer conditions to produce higher yields. However, he said soybeans were planted beginning in early May and were starting to sprout the first week in June without any moisture. The saving grace, Schoper said, was getting some rain when the soybeans began blooming and putting on buds. Overall, he agrees that considering the arid conditions this summer, most farmers are pleased with the yield results. “Some of that is attributed to modern corn hybrids that can make something out of nothing,” Schoper added, saying that conditions as we had this growing season would have been a disaster for most producers 20-25 years ago. “We’ve dodged the bullet this year with 12-14 inches of moisture in the beginning of the year. Take away that moisture and it would have been a totally different story.” Thanks to the moisture earlier this May he said tillage has been easier than last year too. Dry weather started last July and lasted through the fall. In 2011, the last significant moisture was on Feb. 29. The rains in August provided the first significant moisture this area has seen in six months. Schoper said we need moisture in the next six months to get the next growing season off to a good start. Despite dry conditions, another bonus farmers have seen this year, Schoper said, was that minimal drying was required of the grain harvested. Schoper indicated that between Oct. 10-15 he sees farmers wrapping up the harvest season, as long as warm, dry weather prevails. A season like this with planting and harvesting ahead of schedule takes a lot of stress and pressure off the practice. “We can do a better job and it makes farming fun when you have conditions like we’ve had this year,” Schoper added.