For those interested in how the fall harvest in Iowa and North Illinois is progressing and is looking for Corn and Soybeans.
As of yesterday (16 October)...were way behind and getting worse.
Crop Percent 2009 Harvested 2008 Harvested Past 5 yr Average State
Corn 6% 8% 21% IA
Corn 6% 7% 19% IL (North)
Soybeans 29% 64% 74% IA
Soybeans 10% 42% 75% IL (North)
Feedback from Farmers: Concern is increasing about getting the harvest in and the cold and wet conditions impacts on soybean pods (splitting) and having very wet corn that must be dried (costly).
Assessment of USDA Yields: Prevaling view is...error bar is to the downside...not the upside. This view is becoming more widespread past few weeks.
Current Yields: Will have updated (more accurate/reliable) yield numbers by end of the week. The numbers so far are all over the place.
Weather: Continued Cold and Wet...further negative impacts to harvest next 10 plus days. October is averaging 10-12 degrees below normal and latest 2 week weather data suggests we will stay below normal...and may threaten all time cold records for October. July was also a record to near record cold month.
% Harvested Sources: Local Farming (public/private) organizations.
With a civilian's eye, I can tell you that the corn and beans here, 55 miles northwest of Chicago, look worse than I've ever seen them, with the exception of the extremely severe drought year, 1998. The stalks and ears are small. The pods have been mature and standing in the field for at least a couple weeks now . . . Farmers can't get into the fields due to frequent rains, on top of a wet summer. I operated a loader on my property today, and I had trouble controlling it, as it wanted to slide over the surface, or just bog down into the mud. I have little doubt that the corn cannot possibly dry out optimally this year . . . The weather is so cold and damp that they'll be lucky to get it out of the fields, at all.
Boy, when I was a kid, my grandfather didn't get his crop in the field until "the boys" were out of school because it took a family effort to do the planting. June was a perfect time to plant corn - warm soil, good weather to be outside and no chance the seed would rot in the field from cold wet weather.
They harvested corn after the ground was hard frozen and the corn heads went into the corn bins to dry over winter from where they were taken to be fed to animals. If the equipment broke - the bins were often filled one shovel at a time. To be sure - the corn was mostly out of the field by Thanksgiving for hunting season. Several rows were traditionally left standing for wind breaks and food for animals. Yes, some corn was "lost" to the Wisconsin deer but farmers got some of it back with some of the best tasting deer (corn fed deer) during hunting season. It also came back as higher birth rates for wildlife. They lost some crop to the turkey and other foragers - Grandpa used to say "10% back" and I never knew if he meant 10% went back to the wild or came back to him. Or maybe it meant the 10% corn left in the bins to be shucked and replanted next year. The land wasn't tiled, irrigated. They wouldn't have ever thought to give a dairy cow a hormone to produce more milk if it reduced her life-span and the business of farming meant making good hay and silage.
Either way, the mindset of modern farming method - "the get the crops out & money in the bank to pay the mortage and survive another year" vs "Live in harmony with the land and not against it" has led us to depleted aquafiers, disease prone animals, chemical laden foods / high cholesterol foods and less satisfaction that all is right with the world.
Oh, they'll get their crops out of the field and they may not get the best price or the biggest yield but past experience tells us loosing isn't always a loss. There is always a winner and this time it may be the wildlife who will appreciate it for what it is - a little gift from heaven. We'll just have to pay a little more at the check out . .but I'll call it my "10% back". EGP
Well, said, EGP. Your viewpoint puts me in mind of a very old story, that goes like this:
There was a farmer in a poor country village. He was considered very well-to-do, because he owned a horse which he used for plowing and for transportation. One day his horse ran away. All his neighbors exclaimed how terrible this was, but the farmer simply said ‘Maybe’. "A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with it. The neighbors all rejoiced at his good fortune, but the farmer just said ‘Maybe’. "The next day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses; the horse threw him and broke his leg. The neighbors all offered their sympathy for his misfortune, but the farmer again said ‘Maybe’. "The next week the conscription officers came to the village to take young men for the army. They rejected the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. When the neighbors told him how lucky he was, the farmer replied, ‘Maybe’.
Poor Nichoman . . . He posts a perfectly sterile, mathematical analysis, and we manage to turn it into a touchy-feely fest . . .
Sorry, Nichoman . . . Just that kind of a day, I guess . . .
In mid-atlantic we've had great corn weather and good early bean weather. coulda had a little more rain for late beans.
combining corn now will start beans by first of nov. have combined late beans as late as early dec. with little loss. feel
somewhat sorry for mid-west farmers,but it means my commodities will be worth more.
feel somewhat sorry for mid-west farmers,but it means my commodities will be worth more.
Hey . . . What goes around comes around . . . I'm sure you'll return the favor someday . . . Whether you like it, or not . . .
I used to have that same sort of guilty appreciation for another's misfortune when some person with a rare and intriguing disorder would roll through the doors of my ICU . . . On the one hand, I was happy to have the opportunity to gain the experience . . . On the other, well . . .
That's fine. Enjoy any and all stories about farm life.
The way things are going...our family is bringing up stories of harvesting at New Years. Seems were on track for that...can't recall a time though when yields weren't impacted. Personal view...can't see these predicted huge USDA mean yields per acre. We'll see.
BTW...for those who are interested in yields...see Eric deCarbonnel post below...put it this way on data coming in here so far...I can see a shortfall of at least half (5% less than USDA) of his more somber prediction of 10%. Have a clearer picture by end of this week. That will impact food prices from past experiences.
USDA Estimates Are Wrong.
Finally...this will add further pressure to increasing farm foreclosures...expected to rise 50-100 percent next year in our area (which has some of the most productive land in the world). Those who monitor this are talking about over a thousand possible.
Here's the link...
Top Iowa Mediator Predicts Slew Of Farm Foreclosures.
Anyone not see food shortages coming? Just when.
Of course, there won't be any farm bailouts . . . The banks can't be allowed to fail . . . They produce obscene profits for a select few . . . But farms? . . . No problem . . . They only feed people, nonselectively . . . including those that are considered to be useless eaters . . . Bailing them out would interfere with population reduction and taking control of productive land . . .
This mathematical statement is only for the people who
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