Crops still lagging as planting cycle nears end

Jim Fall

What was it Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said about the little girl who, “when she was good, she was very good”?

“But when she was bad, she was horrid.”

When Nodaway County’s crops are good, like they have been for the past couple of years, anyway, they have for the most part been very, very good. But, like the tyke in Mr. Longfellow’s poem, this is one of those years when, in many instances, the local harvest report is not going to be at all pretty.

What began as a planting cycle that was “at least three weeks behind,” according to Tim Drier, Nodaway County Farm Service Agency executive director, the story has not improved and most local farmers are running as much as a month behind normal harvesting schedules for corn and soybeans, the county’s two primary crops.

Beans in Nodaway County are 100 percent mature, but only 25 percent harvested as of the final statewide reporting date in October.

“A lot of the beans are struggling,” Drier said. “We got that late start, and then a lot of the bottom ground flooded, so some folks had to replant. With the wetter weather and the shorter than normal growing season, our yields are down from the last couple of years.” In many instances, Drier said, that can be attributed to the shorter plants “that are going to have fewer pods.”

The conditions of the county bean crop are pegged at “20 percent, very poor; 30 percent, poor, and 30 percent fair.” Only 20 percent of the county’s estimated 117,000 acres of soybeans are seen as being “good.”

Drier said, “Some of the bottom ground is hardly worth harvesting, but then, on the other hand, there have been some reports of 40-bushel harvests.”

The projections for the 130,000-plus acres of corn are somewhat better, but still not the kind to generate very much real excitement. “With 25 percent harvested, we are averaging in the 110-to-120-bushel range,” for corn, Drier said. “It’s coming in all the way from 90 in some cases to 120 and 130 bushels per acre in other areas,” he said. At this time in 2007, the area corn harvest was 69 percent in the bins.

On the broader Northwest Missouri area, the Oct. 26 National Agriculture Statistics Service report issued by the United States Department of Agriculture puts the corn harvest at 29 percent complete, compared to 58 percent in 2007. Statewide, the corn harvest was just over half complete, according to the most recent NASS report. The statewide harvest status for corn was 87 percent complete by this time a year ago.

The soybean harvest for the northwestern portion of the state is more in line with historical norms — 31 percent in this year compared to 49 percent last year.

The average rainfall in Nodaway County for the past two weeks has been 5.63 inches, according to the agricultural statistics report, but it has been greater in some areas.

Maryville Daily Forum