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Harvest just keeps dragging on

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One of these days I’ll be able to say harvest 2017 is complete. That day has not yet come.

The last month has been moving slowly. Most weeks it has only been fit to harvest three or four days. In the last two weeks, tillage has come to a halt.

We were one of the fortunate ones this past weekend. We didn’t have the six-inch rainfall accumulations like some neighbors to our northeast. We stayed in the 2-inch to 4-inch range. However, most of the fields we have left received the four inches.

Since tillage is a ways off, we are taking no chances and hooked one of the quad tracs to the grain cart. Maybe it’s just this time of year, but the window seems to be tightening to get this crop in before something happens to it.

Basis firmed

With the slow end to harvest, basis has firmed a little. We have taken the opportunity to core the grain bins. Coring the bins is important to help maintain grain quality for long term storage. High concentration of fines (like that which most commonly is found in the center of the bin) inhibits air flow. Airflow is important for the final conditioning and cooling of the grain. ‘Hot spots’ in the bin can cause spoilage or damage to the grain.

Whenever we get a cool night during harvest, we turn the bin fans on. This week will provide some good opportunity as temperatures are going to be in the 30s. Ideally, we want to get the grain cooled to just above freezing.

Next week I can begin to deliver some of my stored soybeans. If weather woes continue to drag out harvest, we will empty the bin in lieu of using flat storage for the last portion of the corn crop.

We have talked about delivering corn from the field, but there is still about 30 cents carry in the market to July. We just can’t see giving that up with the tight margins of 2017. There is still a nice return there, even after interest is taken into account.

Again, the main reason we need to use the flat storage is our inability to book early harvest corn delivery. Maybe there was more 2016 crop than we thought.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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