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Bumper crop growing on Kendall County farms : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Bumper crop growing on Kendall County farms
But expected high yields driving down prices for corn and soybeans

by Matt Schury


The term bumper crop is reserved for growing seasons like this.

Dan Reedy, executive director of the Kendall County Farm Bureau, said he anticipates area farmers will see a high crop yield in the fall.

"We're looking at what we consider a bumper crop," Reedy said. "Everything looks very good, actually," Reedy said, noting that, while there were a few flooded areas in the county from heavy rain a couple of weeks ago, the crops are doing well.

Reedy adds that while the summer has been wetter than recent years the crops now need late summer heat and humidity to really take off.

"We've had a lot of rain, we could use a little bit more heat but everything looks pretty good," Reedy said. "After you get beyond a certain number of days you need heating-degree days to make the crop grow."

In spring 2013 there was a planting delay and this spring there was also a slight delay, again due to the severe winter and colder temperatures and rainy weather continuing into late spring.

"We were way into May before things started getting planted," he said. "We typically have a few (farmers) that will plant in late April but that was not the case this year."

Reedy said that the severe winter slowed the planting schedule and the cooler summer continues to slow down the maturation of the crops. The corn has been tasseling for the past two weeks and now farmers are checking for pests as well as starting to plan for the harvest.

Reedy added that he read recently that the national harvest average for corn is anticipated to be about 170 bushels an acre, which is extremely high.

"It will be interesting to see and I think we will be much higher than that on a countywide average," he said, adding that the record average high is about 175 bushels an acre for corn in Kendall County.

He mentioned that the county might even exceed that average this year if the rain continues the way it has. If the great growing season continues farmers will reap a good harvest but prices have taken hit.

Reedy explained that the market for corn and soybeans has been going down in the last few weeks. He said that it has to do with supply and demand. The market price for corn or soybeans declines as the anticipation of larger yields increases, Reedy said. The Department of Agriculture will come out with their yield anticipations later this summer.

"If they say that it is going to be higher than we are anticipating, that will take another crash to the market as well," Reedy said.

He mentioned that this is not good news for farmers as it is costing more to produce the corn and beans then what they will be selling it for.

The selling price at which most farmers break even is about $4.30 to $4.50 per bushel. Prices lower than that, Reedy says, mean farmers are no longer making money because the costs of producing the crops- planting seed, using fertilizer and fuel-is more expensive.

Reedy realizes this is kind of a mixed message.

"It's good news from the standpoint of harvest as far as the quantity, if you will, but unfortunately the price is another story," he said.

Meanwhile lingering effects of the drought of 2012 continue for beef producers, who use most of the corn produced in Kendall County and the Midwest.

Reedy explained that there is a shortage of hogs and cattle, so the surplus of feed isn't needed. Subsequently, beef prices have gone up because most of it comes from the southwest and west where they have been experiencing drought.

He added that in 2012 cows were brought to slaughter in a sell off because there wasn't enough feed. The cows were shipped to market and it takes a while to make up that population.

"Right now we are at what they call '(the) 1951 level of cows,'" Reedy said. "Once that mama cow is gone it takes several years to get back into production," he said. "It's going to take a while to build those herds back up if there is enough pastured hay to feed them,"

Farmers will probably start harvesting soybeans at the end of September and corn around the first of October, Reedy anticipates.

"They are saying this year is going to be one of our best ever but, of course, time will tell and Mother Nature will tell us as well," Reedy said.

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