Local News

Final La Salle County crop report: Above average yields registered

Harvest started in early September didn’t conclude until November

The final harvest report for 2021, which features crop condition from La Salle County farmers, is published regularly during the growing season. The following report is provided with assistance from the La Salle County Farm Bureau.

David Hall, Serena: The 2021 crop year is behind us. Harvest was interesting to say the least. Things started off smoothly with nice dry weather, but after several windstorms and a 4 inches of rain, progress slowed immensely. Those who chose to cut soybeans first were left to fight down corn, and those who combined the corn first got stuck waiting for good bean harvest days later in the fall. The next tough decision was whether or not to apply fall fertilizer for the 2022 crop at record high prices or take a chance for lower prices in the spring. Then decide what seed traits to use for spring, not knowing availability or pricing of any herbicides.

One bright upside to the fall has been average to above average yields and market prices that have held strong through harvest and the end of the year. Hopefully rumors of shortages and supply chain issues for inputs will not come true, but time will tell. Hope everyone has had a safe harvest and new year.

David Myer, Marseilles: 2021 was another interesting year on the farm. Spring 2021 started out dry and warm in April and planting season was off to an early start, but early May brought a few showers slowing planting but the precipitation we received gave us almost perfect corn populations and the beans also were off to a great start as many planted all or part of their soybeans first this year. July provided us with less than normal precipitation, but August was even drier with lots of warm temps and high humidity. Aug. 10 high winds left many acres of corn with some green snap or twisted corn plants. The corn suffered from the high humidity and resulted in stalk quality that we’ve never seen before. The results of that caused the corn plants to deteriorate and harvest started about Sept. 10 and the corn moisture was unbelievably dry for that early and many acres of corn were harvested then. We should’ve been more aggressive getting our corn out because as the fall progressed the winds created more lodging problems in the corn which ultimately slowed harvest progress. Corn reels were needed to pick up these down fields which were mostly in the northern part of the county. So a harvest that started in early September didn’t end until late November for some of us with the lodged corn. 2021 yields were mostly better than 2020 but what a challenge it was. Most of the farmers haven’t used a corn head reel in 20 years and we all hope we never see them in the fields again as harvest speed was less than half of normal and even less in many fields. 2022 already has many of the farmers very concerned due to supply chain problems resulting in higher input costs and supply shortages, so just how will La Salle County farmers fare in 2022?

Bill Gray, Tonica/Lostant: Another interesting year is over and another crop has been harvested. Harvest this year started mid-September, which is about average. Instead of starting with soybeans though, we started with corn and didn’t stop as the corn was drying down so fast and at times it seemed like we couldn’t get it done fast enough. We had to deal with some windblown stalks that were down but not too much. Once we finished corn, we went right to harvesting soybeans. By then some varieties that had gotten too dry actually took on some needed moisture and weight from a few showers. Soybean harvest went very smooth once we got a few sunny days. In general, our harvest went very good with only a couple minor breakdowns. Soybean yields were pretty good in all of my fields with an above average yield. Corn yields were also above average despite the hot, dry spell we had. A quite a bit fall fertilizer, ag lime and anhydrous ammonia got applied after harvest and quite a bit of tillage work was completed.

We were able to put some venison in the freezer this hunting season and will enjoy it the next few months. We’ve also started working on the local coyote population and have been able to do some nuisance beaver trapping with pretty good success.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season and has a safe and healthy 2022.

Ken Bernard, Grand Ridge: This harvest year was another one for the record books. The dry weather in August had us all on edge to see what yields were going to be. As we got started harvesting both corn and soybeans, we all had a sense of relief. I was happy with the yields in both crops. Corn was drying down nicely; beans were hard to combine with the green stems. Some corn was down from the late August storms. Then the heavy rains came in the middle of October. And then the corn started going down more making harvest very difficult. We got through that after putting a reel on the corn head to help get the corn in, with that the mud came in also taking the toll on combines. Many problems with that mud sticking on everything in the combines and moving parts. Most of field work got done and a lot of high fertilizer and nitrogen was applied. No one knows where the costs are going to get up to. Many projects to do this winter, besides getting ready for planting, which could start in by the middle of April. Have a safe winter and be careful.

Geoffrey Janssen, Rutland: The southern part of the county was blessed with a very good harvest. Yields were exceptional. Harvest started early as the warm and dry conditions dried the corn down rapidly, fortunately all of my corn was standing well. Soybean Harvest started well as we went right into that after corn. I did have a couple of fairly lengthy rain delays that definitely slowed things down, but fortunately the weather turned around which led to a nice ending for harvest with-dry ground conditions. There seems to be a lot of tillage done in both corn and soybean ground this fall. There was a large amount of nitrogen applied for next year’s corn crop. Overall, it was a good very good year with with the very large yields and also having price the price of grain increasing through the late fall into early winter.