For the first time in nearly three years, farmers in Marion County are on track to have three successful harvests in one year. After a record-breaking wheat harvest in June, local farmers were quick to replant fields with corn, milo, and soybeans. Those who were able to get fields planted before large rains fell will have the best yields according to local co-ops.
Heath Andres was excited his father’s, Larry Andres, cornfield off 100th and Mustang Rds., was looking so good after dismal yields previous years due to drought.
“It was rough, but everything looks pretty good so far,” he said. “We’re thankful.”
He said his father is relieved to have good yields. They are averaging 115 bushels per acre for corn and expect good numbers for beans.
Harvest started mid-last week for the Andres farm. According to Heath, they have a week’s worth of corn to cut, and then will move directly to soybeans.
“We have some that should be ready anytime, so we’ll have back-to-back harvests,” he said. “They also look good, everything looks good. We’re excited.”
Orlin Ensz of rural Hillsboro wasn’t able to begin harvesting corn as early as some other farmers in the Hillsboro area, because with the cool, wet spring, he didn’t get crops planted as early. Now that he is harvesting, though, he is also happy with what he is seeing.
“I think it’s doing 100-plus (bushels per acre),” he said. “Way, way better than the last two years.”
Ensz also benefited from the timely rainfall at the end of July and early August.
Mike Thomas, manager of Marion Cooperative Grain and Supply, said the rains helped the area greatly.
He said a few farmers around Marion who brought in corn all seemed optimistic about this year’s crop.
“Grain coming in is really looking pretty good,” he said. “There were some pollination problems for corn when it was so hot and dry, but other than that there’s little wrong with what we’ve seen.”
He said many farmers in the Marion area have chopped corn for silage. Thomas said harvest should kick into full gear by the middle of the week.
“It’s too early to tell how yields will do because most have not started cutting,” he said.
Corn harvest isn’t as far along around Marion, because there is more bottom ground in the area, where yields can be higher but take longer to mature.
Stan Utting, manager of Agri Producers Inc. in Tampa, said their API’s in Tampa and Durham are still waiting for harvest to start.
“Most say this year is a lot better than last year,” he said. “Most farmers we’ve talked to are pretty pleased with how things look, and are anxious for fields to dry out so they can bring the grain in.”
At Hillsboro Cooperative Grain and Supply, it is a different story, after receiving less rain during the beginning of August.
“It hasn’t been as wet here as in other parts of the county,” grain coordinator Dick Tippin said. “We’ve been getting grain in since the first of September, and it’s looking good.”
The elevator has taken more than 350,000 bushels of corn so far according to Tippin, and farmers are pretty optimistic about their yields which average 60-120 bushels an acre — average to above average.
Tippin expects average yields to increase later as better corn is harvested.
He estimated about 2/3 of the corn around Hillsboro had been harvested by the end of Monday. He said the remaining cornfields could have even higher yields. Farmers told Tippin they thought they could get up to 150 bushels an acre on some of the remaining fields — or up to 200 bushels an acre on irrigated fields.