One of the earliest harvests on record

Not all of those machines crawling across the South Dakota plains are silage cutters; instead combines have started to roll as farmers begin to collect the state’s number one crop, corn.

It may sound crazy but corn harvest officially started in August for some South Dakota farmers. In fact, this year’s harvest may be one of the earliest on record for our state.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s statistics service, as of September 9th, 7% of South Dakota’s corn had been harvested. Our state’s farmers haven’t had to combine this early since 1994 when 6% of the corn was harvested by September 4th.

What leads to an early harvest? Early planting dates and most certainly the different levels of drought have pushed cornfields along to the point where they are either ready or nearly ready to be cut for the next crop of food, feed, fuel and fiber.

This week’s crop progress report also showed that 45% of the corn crop has reached maturity. The continued lack of moisture, high temperatures and windy days will certainly keep our state’s harvest and crop progress moving along at a near-record pace. Not necessarily a good thing, but farmers are used to playing the hand which Mother Nature has dealt.