Farmers hurried, but not worried

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Harvest season has started around Illinois after being set behind several times this year, but farmers are not worried about getting all of their work done in time.

“I mean things are pretty normal,” says thirty year farmer Paul Berbaum. “We’re just basically a month behind.”

It all started with storms around planting season and continued with a summer drought. Some farmers say they have never planted this late.

Only 23 percent of Illinois corn is harvested as of Sunday, according to the USDA. Last year at this time, 70 percent was harvested. Berbaum was on his combine Wednesday trying to catch up.

“I am hoping to be done by Thanksgiving,” says Berbaum. “That’s not that far away. I won’t be done very long before that, that’s if the weather holds. We’ve had really good weather for harvesting. Really good weather. Even though it’s chilly.”

All farmers are hoping the weather continues to stay dry and snow-less. Dry weather is key for harvesting soybeans. They may be in trouble if things start to get wet. Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken says this harvest season is similar to their past schedule.

“We put more crop in late this year than probably what most farmers have ever seen,” says Uken. “It wasn’t too many years ago, you talk to some of the farmers who have been farming for a long time, they talk about harvest typically started in October.”

Berbaum is one of those farmers who remembers. He says new technology in the seed and machinery has helped their process.

“I mean we have a lot better equipment now-a-days than we had years ago,” says Berbaum. “When I was a kid we were never done by Thanksgiving, and one year I remember we were out harvesting on Christmas Day. So no, I’m not worried about getting done fast.”

He also says this year’s yield is not going to be as high as in year’s past. But he still thinks their yield is above the average trend line.

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