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2020 harvest will be different

A farmer harvests soybeans in McLean County last year / CIFN file photo.

CHENOA – Each harvest seems to be a little different for everyone. This includes the numerous grain elevators serving growers across the area.

Drying was the big factor last year since many crops came out of the field late with a high moisture content and this year, COVID-19 is throwing a wrinkle into things as growers and elevators adapt to get the fall harvest in safely.

“When we get this harvest started, we are going to have 25,000 visits to our elevators,” said Mark Heil, general manager for Prairie Central Cooperative. “In order to get the upcoming harvest done, we want to make sure we are minimizing that interaction that could cause spread from an employee back over to a patron.”

While the elevator staff looks forward to seeing and talking with visitors in the fall, farmers can likely expect more communication by phone, CB radio or even through hand signals.

“It may be a little different than what we’ve done in the past but I’m confident we’ll be able to accommodate and figure out the best practice,” Heil explained.

Heil expects a good size harvest coming up, but many are waiting to see how the season finishes since recent weeks have been dry. It was reported at this summer’s Prairie Central Cooperative annual meeting that the company had a good financial year, paying patronage back to farmers.

“From an elevator perspective, getting in position to be ready for your harvest is what Prairie Central is all about,” Heil adds. “Making sure that we can do whatever we need to do to be able to handle your harvest is something we take very seriously.”

Heil reminds growers that the cooperative sends out text and e-mail updates with important information during harvest, such as elevator closing times, scale ticket information and copies of contracts.

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