‘Sapphire Blue Sky’ Helps Crop Yields Above Average


Yields seem to be average or a little better

Plumes of dust have gushed from combines across north central Ohio in the past few days, filling the sunny skies that greeted farmers in the first full week of the harvest season.

“It’s been a great week,” said Jason Hartschuh, Ohio State University extension officer for Crawford County.

This year’s harvest actually started in mid-September with a few farmers picking early corn.

By the end of the month, however, their efforts turned entirely to soybeans, and they have been working long hours.

“We had a great whole week growing the soybeans,” said Hartschuh. “I try not to disturb them when the weather is so good.

“We had a very good week”

Almost 50% of the soybeans in Richland and Crawford counties have already been harvested.

Farmers are a little ahead of schedule, but not because they started earlier than usual – time has yet to stop their progress this fall.

“It’s just that we had a really good week together,” said Hartschuh. “Normally we would have a shower halfway.”

Unlike corn, soybeans absorb moisture from the atmosphere, especially rain or dew. This water fills the pods and prevents the crop from being as dry as needed for resale.

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“When it rains, they swell, and then they have to dry out again,” Hartschuh said. “A downpour halfway through harvest would take them another two days to dry before they could start harvesting again. “

This is why the focus is on soybeans at the start of the year, rather than corn.

“Maize can stay on the field longer,” said Hartschuh. “As it matures, it continues to dry out.

Perfect weather meant long days on the farm

Perfect weather has meant early morning and late evening for the farmers of north central Ohio.

“When soybeans ripen, it really has to be harvested,” Hartschuh said. “You don’t want to leave them on the ground.”

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The efforts must stop overnight, however, as the humidity in the air tends to increase in the dark.

So far, the yields seem to be average, and in some cases, a little better. A definitive perspective on the whole region will not be available for a few weeks.

“Really, we’re not sure yet,” Hartschuh said. “We need to be a little further along in the harvest.”

The rain will slow down the harvest at the start of the week

The clear day streak is scheduled to end Sunday morning, according to Mike Griffin, a meteorologist in the Cleveland office of the National Weather Service.

“Next week won’t be a sapphire blue sky all day like we’ve had the last few days,” Griffin predicted. “This week was just perfection.”

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The rains are expected to last all day Sunday and then continue until Monday morning.

“It won’t be too heavy, but there will definitely be showers,” Griffin said. “We’re looking at a total of about half an inch to maybe an inch over the Sunday and Monday period.”

The chances of scattered showers exist in small percentages each day of the coming week.

Some of the rain will not even be measurable, but it will hinder the harvest. Farmers will use the break to plan for the rest of their fall.

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The soybeans will likely be finished by mid-October. Then the attention will turn fully to corn.

“The corn will go in November,” Hartschuh said. “There are a lot of weather events that are going to come and put the brakes on things.”

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