Fall harvest got off to a wet start; motorist should use caution on the roadways


Messenger Staff

 Rain during fall harvest is nothing abnormal. However, just days after many farmers first entered their corn fields this year, the rain started, and it didn’t stop.

 For three weeks, farmers set waiting to get back in the fields. Then when they finally did, they found themselves playing a cat and mouse game with Mother Nature ever since.

 In 2019, Flaherty farmer Tommy Hobbs finished his fall corn and soybean harvest on October 15, but that wasn’t going to happen again this year. In fact, many had to switch out of corn to harvest soybeans. Once a soybean pod dries down, it becomes fragile. Repeated rains after that point will cause it to swell and shrink repeatedly to the point of bursting open and spilling the beans on the ground.

On the bright side, Alex Medley with Nutrien Ag Solutions says that they haven’t seen a farmer yet that wasn’t having a bumper crop of corn this season with yields well over 200 bushels per acre. Though many farmers struggled with slug issues in their soybean fields this spring, it appears that those who have started running their beans are seeing good yields, as well.

The slow start to the harvest season, however, also means that farmers will be in their fields much later this year. Motorists should use caution on the Meade County roadways, especially the smaller secondary and “back” roads. With the days getting shorter and the sun setting earlier every day, visibility may very well be diminished as motorists encounter the large, slow-moving machinery that is being transported from field to field by the farmers.

 If a motorist encounters someone with flashing lights or waving their arm out a window, they should assume that a combine and other oversized equipment is trailing behind them. Please use caution, slow down and share the highway. The farmers want off the road as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, at 20 mph, it doesn’t happen very fast.

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