The annual fall harvest is here.

The annual fall harvest is here.

In the past week, despite forecasts of rain, the first combines of fall were seen rolling through area corn and soybean fields.

Wayne Schoper, South Central College Farm Business Manager Instructor said he is happy with the good start to harvest.

According to Schoper, Brown County has seen about 15-25 percent of the soybeans harvested and about 10 percent of corn has been harvested.

“It’s a pretty solid year as far as yields are concerned,” Schoper said. “Corn yields are at about 160 to 200 bushels per acre, somewhat better than last year and soybean yields right now are at about 35 to 50 bushels per acre, about the same to a little less.”

He explained that soybean yields are down some this year because we didn’t get the significant rainfalls that were needed in August.

Right now, market prices are running low, which is typical during harvest. Schoper said producers need to set their sites on the next six to nine months when looking for market opportunities.

As far as looking ahead, Schoper said if the area remains dry he predicts harvest wrapping up toward the end of October.

“If we have some rain delays, that’s actually positive because it will build up the soil moisture profile down to the two to five feet range,” Schoper said. “Otherwise I think we’ve got enough moisture to get through winter. We just need some continuing rain as time goes on.”

Overall, Schoper said this harvest season is moving along like producers like to see it. Schoper added that producers should remember to delay any nitrogen fertilization until soil temps are below 50 degrees.

“Overall, we are very fortunate. We are in a pretty good place. Prices right now are below the cost of production,” Schoper explained. “Never before have we had this high of input cost, especially in land rent, and now we are below the cost of production and that turns the heat up.”

Caution on roadways

Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways during harvest need to be aware of large farm equipment transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The machines also make wide turns and sometimes cross over the center line. In addition, farm vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All of these factors can cause serious crashes.

Extra care should be taken traveling in work zones as load widths may be restricted and on detour routes where there is increased traffic mixed with farm equipment operators.

During 2010-2012, 377 traffic crashes took place on Minnesota roads involving at least one farm vehicle, resulting in 13 fatalities and 211 injuries. Of the 13 fatalities, six were farm vehicle riders; of the 211 injuries, 53 were farm vehicle riders.