Tuesday morning snow pauses corn harvest
Brenda Winter photo/1023 snow on pumpkins
Rock County residents woke up Tuesday morning to find snow on their pumpkins — and on standing cornstalks, forcing harvest to pause until fields dry out. After several weeks of warmer-than-normal weather, this week has been about 10 degrees cooler than normal, with temperatures in the 40s.

With Rock County’s corn harvest nearly 30 percent completed, area farmers were forced from the fields Tuesday by overnight snow showers.

According to Rock County Farm Service Agency Director Fraser Norton, the corn harvest progress and yields vary, depending on which part of the county he visits.

“It seems that it depends a lot on the soil type and whether a field got a timely shower of rain or not during critical periods of the growing season,” Norton said.

“There are many reports of fields yielding close to 200 bushels per acre and some well above that level. However, it seems that yields will eventually end up at or slightly above the long-term county average, perhaps close to 180 bushels per acre.”

He said corn moisture levels are running in the 17- to 25-percent range, which will require drying costs to get it down to the 15- to 16-percent level for safe storage in grain bins until next spring/summer. 

“There are also reports of stalk rot, so it is important to get the crop harvested before the plants go down, irrespective of the moisture level,” Norton cautioned. 

“Corn test weights also seem to be very near the standard test weight of 56 pounds per bushel.”

He said Rock County’s soybean harvest is virtually completed and, by all reports, yields are better than expected. 

“In fact, yields are likely to be above the county average, as I have heard of many fields running in the upper 50s and low 60 bushels per acre,” Norton said about soybeans. 

“A county average in the low 50 bushels per acre seems likely.” 

He said most of the beans harvested were dry, with moisture levels in the 9- to 12-percent range. 

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