A few reminders for the fall harvest season
By ADAM M. SHEPARD
It sure doesn’t seem like five months has gone by already. My first week Isaac Garland and I were rushing around trying to get the crops planted at the County Farm, now five months later doing maintenance on the combine in preparation for harvest.
While the majority of us are ready to put this difficult year far to the back of our minds there are a couple things to remember before we get going this fall. As every year poses different struggles with the setup of harvest equipment this year will be no different. Dry weather during pollination has left us with larger than normal kernels and less than perfect pollination.
Corn fields affected by early season winds can also be of concern with goose-necked stalks. Ear placement this year is also variable with some ears being placed very low on the stalk due to lack of vertical growth. All of these variables must be considered to help achieve proper combine settings. For most of us that did not have wheat to harvest this summer we also need to pay proper attention to the monitors in our machines. Take some time to verify the proper data is listed in your monitor to ensure trouble free documentation in the fields. Our yield monitors and precision agriculture equipment is only as productive as we allow it to be.
Time is important to everyone this fall but a few extra hours at the beginning of harvest to calibrate the yield monitor can provide valuable data to analyze this winter. Be aware of the features your precision agriculture equipment offers and try to utilize those features to make decisions for next growing season. Make notes of hybrids and varieties in each field to get a better idea of what worked well and what you might want to consider for next year. Any information you can note while harvesting this fall will help make more informed decisions for your operation next year.
It seems like every year you can drive around the county and see one or two new grain bins being put up. As we head into fall it is important to make sure and spend some time getting storage facilities ready for use. Most of us finish hauling in the winter and don’t spend too much time at the grain facilities until we are ready to put the first load in the wet bin. Now is the time to check spreaders and perform maintenance on stir-alls and grain fans/dryers.
Make sure harnesses and safety gear is on hand to be used if you have to open lids or set augers. Clean up any old grain and dispose of accordingly. Give the grain dryer some attention and verify that any gates and flow switches are working accordingly to save a cleanup down the road. Harvest always seem to sneak up on us, if we take the time to perform these tasks now then when it comes time to head to the field we will be ready.
Thanks to those that were able to attend the Estate Planning seminar on Aug. 30, we had right at 70 participants who asked great questions and offered good conversation to the group. Those in attendance came from Highland, Ross, Clinton and Fayette. I have handouts available in the OSU Extension office for those that were unable to attend but interested in the information.
Now that I have had some time to get settled in I would appreciate some input from you all about what kinds of things you would like to see us do this winter. I’m in the process of kicking around some ideas of things I think are important but anything you would be interested in hearing about please give me some ideas.
I’m also considering some sort of a monthly newsletter to give general observations and report on each end of the county along with offering some information on current events and a calendar of upcoming dates. If you have any ideas or suggestions I welcome you to send them to email@example.com.
(Adam M. Shepard is Fayette County Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources.)