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Ferrie: 4 Timely Harvest Reminders Plus Yield Highlights For Illinois Corn And Soybeans

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The Illinois 2021 corn harvest is ramping up across the state, while soybean harvest is just beginning.

Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist and owner of Crop-Tech Consulting, Heyworth, Ill., offers four timely reminders for farmers preparing to start harvest:

1. Check stalk quality to prioritize cornfields. While you’re scouting, give stalks the push test. Then, plan which fields to harvest in an A, B, C, D order. Make sure everyone on the harvest team knows the plan.

2. Check more than the outside rounds of cornfields. Consider making a swath through the middle of fields to evaluate moisture levels. Ferrie says because of higher evapotranspiration (ET) rates and lower humidity this season, the center of fields may be dryer than usual this fall.

3. As you harvest, keep an eye on your scouting reports. Standability is a big issue for Illinois farmers this fall, and many are trying to combine as much of their corn crop as they can before it falls over. “Remember, sometimes it's better to leave a field of down corn and catch one with corn still standing,” Ferrie advises.

4. Calibrate, calibrate, calibrate.  Ferrie says test weights are ranging all over the board this season, and yield swings from 170 bushels to 300 bushels in the same field are common.

“Yield maps this year are going to be worth gold,” he says. “You need to calibrate the combines.

“Using last year's calibration loads are not going to give you the caliber of yield map that you want,” he adds. “Operators, take the time, put in the effort, get your machines calibrated. Managers, give them the time and the wherewithal to get this done.”

Here’s a brief overview of yield results Ferrie’s agronomic team and colleagues are seeing across Illinois this week:

Northern Illinois:

Lighter corn yields are in the 200- to 210-bushel range with 18% to 19% moisture.

Corn with some green still in it is yielding in the 250-bushel range and has up to 25% moisture.

Soybean yields are coming in strong, in the high 70s to upper 80s.

Eastern Illinois:

Corn not sprayed with a fungicide is ranging from 200 to 210 bushels per acre.

Corn sprayed at least once is yielding 220 to 230 bushels per acre.

Soybean yields aren’t in for many fields yet.

Western Illinois:

Ferrie says there is a lot of downed corn farmers are trying to clean up, but many are still seeing significant yields.

Corn sprayed once with a fungicide is yielding in the 220- to 240-bushel range.

Corn sprayed twice is producing in the 250-plus bushel range.

Central Illinois

Unsprayed corn is yielding between 170 and 200 bushels per acre, with moisture levels ranging between 14% to 18%. Ferrie says some of this corn is falling over.

Corn sprayed at least once with a fungicide is posting 210 to 230 bushels per acre, with moisture levels ranging from 19% to 21%.

Sprayed corn with some green still present in plants is producing 230- to 250-plus bushels per acre with 25% moisture. “Plant health is playing a huge role in what we’re seeing here locally,” Ferrie says.

Soybean yields are coming in strong, with farmers seeing yield ranges from the upper 70s to upper 80s.

Southern Illinois

Corn sprayed with a fungicide is yielding between 230 and 265 bushels per acre, with moisture levels in the low 20s. “Combines coming out of the field are often followed by an orange cloud,” Ferrie says, indicative of Southern rust.

Soybeans are ranging in yield between the low 70s and low 80s, depending on the maturity group.

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