The pleasant fall sunshine made yesterday one of the first really good days of the year for harvesting corn and soybeans, the area's largest crops, which are both expected to yield well.
The Andersons Inc. planned to keep its port elevators open until 10 p.m. for the first time this season. And farmers such as John "Cash" Young, who farms 2,500 acres in Wood County, were harvesting as many soybeans as they had ready in their fields.
Soybean harvest was the priority for farmers who have both mature corn and mature soybeans. If strong storms come, soybean pods sometimes open, spilling beans onto the ground where mechanical harvesters cannot pick them up.
Corn ears also can fall off the stalks in a storm, or the whole stalk can blow to the ground. That's especially a risk for stalks damaged by too much rain or too much heat at the wrong times during the summer.
Yesterday's work kicked off what is often a seven-to-eight-week harvest season locally.
Across the country, both corn and soybean harvests are expected to be the second largest ever, behind only 2004's.
And locally both crops appear good to very good, with the corn looking a little better than the beans, said Jeff Goetz, senior grain buyer at The Andersons.
That's a big factor in farmers' profitability this year.
Fertilizer and fuel prices were markedly higher.
But with the sizeable crop and prices that in the past few weeks have risen for corn and held steady for soybeans, Matt Roberts, an agricultural economist at Ohio State University, said, "It will be a good year."
Even with predictions of the second-largest corn harvest ever at 11.1 billion to 11.3 billion bushels, expectations for use are even larger because of the growing ethanol industry. Corn prices yesterday were about 10 percent higher than their low in mid August.
Soybean prices have remained steady in recent weeks. Biodiesel, the fuel made with soybeans, has not taken off as quickly as has ethanol, which is made with corn.
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