Dawn Rye | Writer
Farmers are preparing to fire up their tractors earlier than usual this year. They perform an essential service, providing food and other products that consumers commonly take for granted. Most of the families who live and work on a farm understand the potential hazards equipment can cause. There are many different forms of machinery on a farm to help keep it working efficiently and they also pose serious safety risks. Injuries that may result from pinching clothing or part of the body, use caution around grain bins and turn off machinery before performing maintenance.
Scorching, dry weather has sped up crop development, corn and soybean fields should be ready for harvest at least 10 days to two weeks sooner than expected.
According to USDA, conditions are reflective of what is happening throughout the Midwest. As farmers prepare for an early harvest, there are many reasons why the crop is arriving sooner.
The cold, wet weather across the Midwest delayed planting for many, but most central farmers began putting seeds in the ground in late April and finished no later than mid-May. Higher-than-average temps and dryer-than-normal conditions soon followed the frigid early season temperatures. Second, farmers usually like to see the balance of heat and moisture that provides their corn crops with solid opportunities for growth and development. Third, many farmers see the “black layer” development at the end of the kernels, indicating corn maturity and a harvest-ready crop. Farmers are already experiencing corn dry down levels in their fields at about the same rate that typically occurs in early October—indicating that corn crops are ready for harvest across most Midwest and the nation.