Monday, May 25, 2015

Farmers Battle Wet Weather Again
October 31, 2013 | No Comments

By John Parker One local farmer said recently that if you have grain to harvest in northeastern Ohio, expect to harvest in some mud. It…

By John Parker

One local farmer said recently that if you have grain to harvest in northeastern Ohio, expect to harvest in some mud.

It seems like that is the situation again this fall. While there was a dry period in early to mid-October and much of the soybeans and some corn were harvested, there are many acres still out there to get combined.

Wet, muddy conditions make for a difficult harvest. With four wheel drives and larger tires on many combines, farmers can get into the fields to combine. In the process, they cut up the fields and leave them with many ruts and deep wheel tracks that will be a problem next spring. Also, some smaller farmers may not have four-wheel drive combines, which makes harvest tough.

Once the grain bin on the combine is full, it has to be emptied into either grain trucks or self-unloading wagons to get to storage bins someplace. Normally, the truck or wagons would drive out to the combine and the grain augured into them. If everything is going right, the truck or wagon can drive alongside the combine and get filled without stopping the machine.

But, in wet muddy conditions, things seldom go right. Trucks, and sometimes tractors pulling grain wagons, cannot get into the fields. So, the combine has to be driven to the edge of the field to unload. This slows down harvest and can cause more deep ruts.

Wet weather also does not let the grain dry down like it needs to be for safe harvest. So, it has to be dried at the bins before storing and that costs money. Wet grain at the storage elevator is docked in price.

So, if one lives in town, wet, rainy weather can cause problems in more ways than just getting wet. One rural TV station broadcaster likes to say, if you like to eat, you are involved in agriculture. Weather conditions can affect the price of food. Those conditions can be drought, too much rain, snowstorms and blizzards.

For example, the recent blizzard out in some of the western states with four or more feet of snow caused serious loss in many beef herds. That storm came on as heavy rains turned to snow and the resulting blizzard came almost overnight. Livestock farmers did not have a chance to get their cattle to shelter or to get hay out to them.

As a result, many farmers lost 50 percent or more of their livestock that were still out on pastures. This was a serious loss financially to them. It can also cause a rise in price of beef because most of the cattle were going to market later this winter.

Locally, the muddy conditions can cause other problems. While farmers try to keep mud from their equipment off the highways, it is difficult. If they do cause a problem, most of them will clean it up with equipment on their tractors.

So, if one does find a little mud on the roads, please have a little patience. Most of ones farmer neighbors are doing their best to get their crops harvested and to keep things clean.

Here in northeastern Ohio, residents also have to be concerned about early wet, heavy snowfallsand they have had them in the past. They can destroy any soybeans still out there and also knock down much corn, which causes losses and makes it hard to harvest.

Lets hope for dry weather before a snowfall.

Parker is an independent agricultural writer.

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