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View from the Cab: Reflections-part 2



(John Kelly retires from Prairie State Tractor, one of our top local ag stories in 2023)

By Kent Casson


Here are more of the Central Illinois Farm Network’s top agricultural stories from 2023.


Local farmers finishing up wheat harvest had a smile on their face last July because we received timely rains to help other crops such as corn and soybeans. Livingston County dairy farmer Don Mackinson was baling wheat straw while preparing to start his third cutting of alfalfa.


“We’d like to put some sorghum in behind the wheat ground as there is a shortage of feed so far this year,” Mackinson told The Central Illinois Farm Network.


John Kelly retired from what was known as Gardner’s, Kelly-Sauder-Rupiper Equipment and now Prairie State Tractor. The biggest change Kelly remembers was the move to autosteer systems on tractors and combines, saving labor and preventing extra mental stress for farmers going through the field. Kelly has observed equipment getting bigger along with the acreage farmers cover.


The world’s first complete holistic crop production system was getting some stares at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur over the summer. Terrakamp’s NEXAT system integrates ground preparation, seeding, nutrient application and harvest. It is basically a controlled traffic tractor from a company out of Germany. Features include a high-speed disk and planter along with an impressive sprayer.


By early October, farmers finally had a decent start to the 2023 harvest season. The first soybean fields were impressive and the corn wasn’t bad either. Corn moisture levels were slow to come down, prompting a few growers to leave it out in the field a bit longer than normal. Recent rains weren’t all that bad as they kept the field fire threat away for a bit and took off more leaves from soybeans.


Yields were raised in the November USDA WASDE report. Corn carryout was 2.156 billion bushels which was above the expected 2.13. Wheat was at 684 billion bushels as 669 was expected. U.S. corn production came in above the expected 15.1 billion. Soybean carryout at 245 million bushels was above the expected 222, causing some pressure on the bean market.


Corn yield came in at 174.9 on Thursday, with 173.2 expected. Soybean production was 4.12 billion bushels which was not a huge increase.


These are just a few of the many agricultural stories we were honored to bring you on The Central Illinois Farm Network during 2023. We certainly hope you have a safe and Happy New Year and we look forward to covering the local ag world for you again in 2024. Cheers.

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