Farmers, co-ops report better-than-expected yields as harvest gets into full swing

Across Monroe and Ralls counties, farmers are harvesting corn and soybeans, and it is looking like a very good year. Fields that a few weeks ago had towering corn crops and fields of soybeans are bare as the harvest gets into full swing a across the area.

In a state where agriculture is the No. 1 industry — and in two counties where agriculture is king — that is good news for the economy.

Tony Francis, county director for the Farm Service Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, says that with the crop nearly crops are being rapidly harvested in northeast Missouri, yields per field are reported from 175 bushels per acre and up. An average of 140 to 150 bushels in what most observers would deem as a good harvest.

He said the dry summer has not impacted the harvest.

“We are seeing some pretty good yields so far,” Frances said.

Glen Mallory of Farmers Co-op Services in Palmyra, which also operates a New London location, agreed with the assessment.

“I normally don’t ask about yields, but from what I am being told, it is maybe above average, although I did hear that one guy has almost 300 bushels (per acre),” he said.

So far, the co-op has been working eight to nine hours a day, but that is expected to soon change as the harvest continues.

“We store a lot of corn for customers, so they are generally later getting the corn to us because it is drying,” he said.

Daniel Mallory, who covers several counties for the University of Missouri Extension in New London, echoed the that farmers are reaping good yields this year.

“From what I am hearing, it is going well…about what they were expecting or more,” he said. “I’ve heard yields anywhere from 180 per acre for corn and in the 70w for soybeans,” he said. “It is one of those summers turned out not a whole of rain, but when we needed some, we go the rain.”

He said the dry weather has made for an earlier-than-normal harvest.

“But I am not sure how many may have been set back some this last rain,” Mallory said of the rain that fell over the weekend.

And while the harvest is good news for farmers, the dry weather over the summer is beginning to take a toll on livestock producers.

“The cattle are eating grass, but because of the dry weather, nothing is really growing back,” said Francis.

That means, said both Francis and Mallory, that producers are being forced to go into their stockpiles of hay earlier than normal, which in turn raises the cost of production.

Whether those costs can be recovered depends on how the national and state markets cattle markets.

“Will beef prices go up? It all depends on numbers and the last meat numbers I saw are high in the state,” he said. “We’ll see if that holds.”