It’s fall — and here in Switzerland County, that means it’s harvest season for farmers.
“So far, it’s going well,” Chuck Deputy of the Farm Service Agency said of the ongoing harvest. “The weather has been good for it. The soybean harvest is well underway. I’d say Switzerland County is at about 45-percent (finished) probably, or better.”
Deputy said that from reports he’s been getting from county farmers, yields on soybeans have been good so far, with early beans showing good yields while there may be some anxious moments waiting on the harvesting of soybeans that were planted later in the planting season due to weather at the time.
“I’m hearing on beans right now, we’re anywhere in the 60s or 70s (bushels per acre),” Deputy said. “For Switzerland County, typically 60 is a good yield. Anything over 60 is good. I’ve heard in some smaller areas on farms, you could get up in the 80s, but that’s kind of rare. They would have had to have been planted at the right time with the right type of weather. There’s some farmers out there doing really well on beans.”
Deputy said that any concerns with the potential yields for late soybeans comes from the fact that farmers did not get the rain on them at the right times.
“I don’t think they’ll be as high (yields), but I think they’ll be decent,” Deputy said. “They will probably still be in the 50s, which isn’t horrible, but not as good as what they probably could have been — but we’ll see when they get to those.”
As for corn, Deputy is hearing good early reports on corn, but that phase of harvest won’t get into full swing for most producers until a bit later.
“I’m sure down in the river bottoms, they’ve probably already run some corn,” Deputy said. “I’ve not heard any corn yields yet, mostly it’s just beans being run. Moisture seems good. The beans are pretty dry, which will be good for them. Corn was still pretty wet the last I heard, but I can’t tell you any yields because I haven’t heard of anybody who’s run much corn yet.”
Even without official yield totals coming in, Deputy is still very optimistic for a good corn harvest.
“The corn looks good,” he said. “From the corn I’ve seen, what I’ve seen, I’m going to say that we’re going to be in the 180+ for the most of it. That’s on an average, obviously there will be some late corn that will be put in that won’t be as good, but on average it looks really good.”
Deputy said that the hay season is over; and there isn’t much wheat being produced here in Switzerland County — Deputy estimates that there’s only about a couple of hundred acres of wheat here.
“The issue is the price,” Deputy said about wheat here. “And if they don’t have an outlet for the straw, that’s where all the money’s at in the wheat. It seems like they get docked so hard when they take it to market that the guys just don’t want to do wheat. The money’s just not good enough around here.”
And then there’s tobacco — the crop which used to fuel not only the Switzerland County agricultural community — but played a big hand in the overall economy of the county, as well.
“There’s still some tobacco out there,” Deputy said. “Still some burley. Growers are doing a little bit more of the cigar binder this year then there has been in the past. We probably don’t have a couple of hundred acres tops in the county right now, which isn’t much at all. We used to see 1,500-1,800 acres per year of just tobacco. There’s probably only six or seven guys in the county who are still growing. I think they have to go to Maysville (Kentucky) to sell their burley. You would have thought that tobacco here would have been a staple forever — but things sure change, don’t they?”
Deputy said that typically the harvest season runs into November, pending weather; with the late soybeans probably on track to be harvested by late November.