Wheat harvest going well

Dale Haudrich checks on his combine in a field at the northeast intersection of Route 3 and Crook Road last week. 

Agriculture is the heart of the economy across Monroe County’s 398 square miles.  

Farmers had been rushing to bring in the first of the big three field crops for the summer before the arrival of rain this past weekend.

Still to grow throughout the summer, then mature and come to harvest this summer and fall, are beans and corn.

The wheat many have seen grow regionwide, first green and then turning gold, and now seen being harvested by huge combines, is known as winter wheat. It was planted last October and germinated before winter sat in and then went dormant through the colder winter stretch before restarting this spring and maturing into the May-June timeframe.

According to Gateway FS Grain Originator Phil Saale, wheat production has been above average and quality has also been very good.  

Grain originators work closely with farmers to help them derive the best prices possible from their crops.  With about two-thirds of the available acreage harvested, Saale said cash prices for harvested wheat are running in the $6.30-$6.50 range and the yields have been better than in 2020. 

Saale said there is adequate grain elevator storage capacity to allow farmers to bring harvested wheat in for immediate sale, and that the Mississippi River’s level is excellent to facilitate efficient barge shipping of grain to overseas exporters in southern Louisiana.

The Republic-Times reached out to farmers on the high lands and bottoms for reports of their results.

Dale Haudrich of Hecker, who harvests for several landowners, finished his work ahead of the arriving rain last Wednesday at midnight – wrapping up his final day with 14.5 hours in his combine.

“I was whipped,” Haudrich said. 

One field he harvested yielded 124 bushels per acre.  

“That’s a record for me,” he said.

As wheat fields are being harvested, it is common to see planting of double-crop beans immediately after the wheat fields have been combined.  Those who got their beans in this week before the rain and are likely to see excellent results, Saale said. 

These second crop beans will be harvested in the late fall.

John Niebruegge of Valmeyer reported he has finished harvesting in the bottoms.

“I am going to calculate my results today,” he said Friday, “but I saw yields of over 100 bushels an acre down here.  It’s very high quality, too.”

Niebruegge said such yields are coming from what he termed “high management wheat.”  

He said that means it is being given proper fertilizer to promote plant growth and receiving correctly applied fungicides to control fungus growth.

“It’s added cost and work, but it pays off,” he said.

The next crop that will come to market is beans.  They were planted earlier this spring and should grow well with the seasonal rain and warmth. They are seen now as green carpet-appearing growth across many fields.

And the third crop that will be brought to market across the region will be the corn that appears to be growing swiftly every day.

One common element to the production of all three major crops that fuel the economy is the number of large trucks and even larger farm machines seen traveling on roads across the area – in rural areas and even in cities.  

They have to move from field to field to do their work.  Often their operators are working long hours and focusing on getting their next work done. They are not being inconsiderate – they are just busy. 

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