Whew . . . It's been a whirlwind of a harvest this year. So much so that I've been a bad blogger for quite some time. While we nosed into corn the last week of September it was still a bit too wet (30% moisture) so we had to wait until mother nature had done her part by Oct. 1. Since then we've been hard at it every day around here. Here it is Nov. 3rd and I've got a few hours of free time! I probably should go take a nap but since I haven't posted in forever (and since I'm a terrible nap-taker) I thought I'd share how harvest has been going.
This year it's been a challenge. We have quite a bit of root-lodged corn. Root lodging is what takes place when a high wind tips the corn plant over due to poor root strength. The severity of lodging is directly affected by wind speed, soil saturation, stage of crop development, etc. This year we had an 80mph wind on July 11th. Called a derecho, it was a wide-spread, continuous wind that caught a lot of our corn at a very vulnerable growth stage as they had rapidly grown in height (6+ feet tall) and leaf area but hadn't yet formed the root bracing needed to anchor themselves to the ground. Some fields were nearly laid flat. Given some sun and favorable growing conditions the plants attempted to straighten toward the sky but in the process created a "gooseneck" at the bottom of the plant. This "gooseneck" makes harvesting a real challenge. Corn yields suffered too (probably around 10%) as the plant was forced to expend energy on regrowth rather than kernel development.
Coupled with the down corn have been a number of mechanical misfortunes this year. Not sure why -- bad luck I guess -- as we thought we were well prepared going into the harvest season. Usually we trade -in our combine after about 5 years for a newer model because experience shows that after about 5 years the mechanical reliability of the machine begins to suffer. For a variety of reasons this year we decided to wait one more year.
Bad call. By the time harvest is over it feels like I will have bought my new combine after all.
One part at a time.
Now I'm not sure what to do for next year. So many things are newly fixed and the re-investment rather large, yet I lack confidence in the machine. What's next?
Anyway, we've got about a week to 10 days left. As long as the rains stay away and we keep the snow at bay we should be able to celebrate a Happy Thanksgiving.
And one of the things I will be most thankful for is being done with this harvest.