Harvest Update

A very nice weather pattern in recent days, with temperatures 10-20 degrees above normal across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, has allowed for rapid progress on soybean harvest in many portions of the region. Some areas are now reporting over 50% of the soybeans harvested, as of Oct. 2. However, wet field conditions and green soybeans have prevented full-scale soybean harvest in some parts of southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa. Most early soybean yields in southern Minnesota have been good to excellent, ranging from 45-65 bu./acre for many growers. Yields have been somewhat lower and more variable in the parts of Western Minnesota that were quite dry in July and August.

Some farm operators have also started harvesting some early hybrids of corn. Again, early yield reports have been above average; however, it’s still too early to get a solid reading on 2006 corn yields. It’s unlikely that most 2006 corn yields will be able to match the excellent corn yields of 2005 in most of southern Minnesota. The hot, dry conditions in early July negatively impacted the 2006 corn crop during the critical tasseling and pollination growth phase, which has led to lower yield expectations in 2006. In parts of western Minnesota, extremely dry weather during the summer months will result in below average corn yields at some locations. Most growers plan to leave the corn in field as long as possible before combining the corn to allow maximum natural dry-down of the corn in the field, in order to reduce corn drying costs. Most corn in south central Minnesota has now reached physiological maturity, or black-layer, and is now being reported at 18-24% moisture. Corn must be dried to approximately 15% moisture for safe storage in on-farm grain bins until the spring or summer of 2007.

DCP Direct Payments
After Oct. 1, 2006 – Second portion of the 2006 Direct Payment.
For most producers, an advance payment of 50% was paid following DCP program sign-up for 2006. The final payment amount should be the same as the first payment, if the producers received a 50% advance payment. The final 2006 Direct Payment amount will be 60% of the total direct payments for producers that received only a 40% advance payment thus far for 2006.

After Dec. 1, 2006 – Advance payment for the 2007 Direct Payment.
The advance payment amount for the 2007 Direct Payment will be only 22% of the total 2007 Direct Payment (rather than 40 or 50%). The other 78% of the 2007 DCP Direct Payment will be paid in October 2007. Producers should keep this reduction in advance DCP direct payments in mind for farm cash flow planning in the fall of 2006.

NOTE: The amount of the advance payment for DCP program Direct Payments was adjusted to 40% for 2006, and to 22% in 2007 and beyond, as part of the Federal Budget Reduction Legislation, enacted by Congress in January 2006.

Direct payment rates and yields that haven’t changed for 2007 adjustments would be made in the total Direct Payment amount for 2007, if crop acres have either been added or subtracted through land purchases or sales or for additions or reductions in land rental acres from 2006 to 2007.

National 4-H Week
During the week of Oct. 1-7, we celebrate National 4-H Week across the U.S. It’s a time to recognize the significant contribution that the 4-H Youth Development Program has made to our youth and families in the nation, in our state and in local communities. Through our schools, the Extension service and other educational units, we constantly hear of improved teaching tools to better equip and prepare our young people for adult life. As we analyze all the new and innovative ideas, many of which are quite sound and very excellent methods, we find that the 4-H Youth Development Program is one of the oldest and greatest teaching tools that we have to teach youth life skills.

Check with your local Extension service office for details on the 4-H Youth Development Program in your area.

Editors note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.