Area farmers are getting a very early jump on the fall harvest and initial yield reports are better than anticipated, considering this part of the state has been in a prolonged drought this summer.
The corn harvest is about three weeks earlier than normal. Corn was planted early last spring and the hot, dry weather pushed the crop's maturity.
Corn moisture levels are mostly under 20 percent — very dry for this time of year. Many farmers are taking advantage of this by combining corn before they begin the soybean harvest.
While most soybeans are dry enough to harvest, there hasn't been a killing frost yet, leaving the soybean plants still somewhat green and tough to combine.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that the state's soybean harvest was 16 percent complete and the corn harvest was at 12 percent, compared to 1 percent for the five-year norm for both crops.
John Skoglund, Pioneer Hybrids district representative, estimates that the corn harvest in this area may be nearly 25 percent completed.
"A lot of guys will finish their corn before they start on their beans," said Skoglund. "In August a lot of guys would have hoped for a 150 (bushels per acre) average. Now I think most guys are getting 10 to 15 bushels more than they expected."
Yields are varying greatly within fields. Skoglund said a farmer near Clarkfield told him his combine's yield monitor bounced between zero and 200 in the same field.
In addition to low moisture levels, which eliminate much of the cost of having to dry the corn, test weights are above average, with some close to 60 pounds per bushel.
"We had just enough rain at critical times to develop good root systems (in corn and beans) in the spring," said Skoglund.