As summer comes to a close following the Labor Day holiday, area farmers prepare for harvest and watch as crops mature and become ready for combines to sweep through the fields.
According the the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, based on August 1st conditions, Nebraska’s 2018 corn production is forecast at 1.83 billion bushels, up nine percent from last year. Acreage harvested for grain is estimated at 9.35 million acres, up one percent from a year ago while the average yield is forecast at 196 bushels per acre, up 15 bushes from last year. Both held and production are new record highs if realized.
For area farmers, crops look good, except for the few places that summer storms brought hail to the crops. Mason Schroeder of the Hometown Agency commented his clients have completed corn irrigation recently and that the majority of the corn is dented with some high moisture corn being scheduled to be picked this week as well as corn being chopped for silage. Schroeder also commented that some of the drylands crops probably could have used some rain earlier in August but still thinks this year’s production will be good to very good.
Dryland soybeans in the area are beginning to turn while there is some irrigation just being completed on soybeans that are just beginning to mature.
Kent Taylor of Ag Valley Coop said they are anticipating harvest beginning in the area the middle of September with soybeans and corn crops looking good in the area. Taylor noted that with the tariffs on soybeans they anticipating putting more soybeans in their bins with corn being placed in bunkers and on the ground.
Nationally, corn production is forecast at 14.6 billion bushels and soybean production at 4.59 billion bushels.
Soybean production in Nebraska is forecast at 332 million bushels, up two percent from last year and also a new record high if realized. Area for harvest, at 5.45 million acres, is down four percent from 2017 while yields are forecasted at 61 bushels per acre, up four bushels from last year, and a record high if realized.
The summer weather brought much need precipitation. According to the Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network, Furnas County received up to just over 20 inches of rain from May 1 to September 4 this year. The highest amounts of rain fell southwest of Arapahoe while the Hendley area saw just over 1.43” inches for the summer. North of Arapahoe rainfall totals were recorded between 13 and 14” for the summer.