View from the Cab: Time for change


Cottonwood leaves are on the ground while crickets and grasshoppers are everywhere. The fall season isn’t far off.

We are reminded of the approaching harvest when days get shorter, soybean leaves start to turn yellow and the smell of freshly-chopped corn silage fills the country air. Many livestock producers ventured out into those cornfields last week to chop corn. This typically means only a few weeks until the first combines head out to the field. The same is true for yellowing soybean plants.

Meteorological fall starts the first of September and Labor Day weekend typically serves as the unofficial end to summer. I recall a few harvests not so long ago when we started around Labor Day or shortly after. The record for the soonest harvest was achieved for us in 2010 when we started on August 31. That followed the extremely late 2009 season we all remember.

In a year full of unpredictability, we can’t help but wonder what the 2020 fall harvest season will bring. Will yields hold up to some of the expectations or will we be disappointed when looking at the yield monitor display in the combine cab? I did see a few social media posts of combines starting to roll in southern Illinois and parts of Iowa, although no yield results were immediately known.

A few cornfields have really started to mature in recent days. Some of the drier spots of a field have plants that are almost completely brown. As of this writing, many areas could use a drink or two. We have lacked significant rainfall for several days now and we need it to finish off the crops.

These few weeks prior to harvest are typically spent preparing equipment for the field and catching up on all of the mowing. For me, it means making sure my kids are doing their online school work each afternoon like they are supposed to. While this has been an adjustment for everyone involved, it is just good that the students are back in school for at least part of the day.

The kids may be making a few trips to the field after school in the afternoons to get a life lesson on hard work. Nothing beats the hands-on learning experience life on the farm offers. Our conversations when they are riding with me are priceless and I wouldn’t trade anything for that.

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