Drive any rural road in Edgar County and columns of dust are easily spotted where farmers are cutting beans and shelling corn.
Harvesting started approximately two weeks ago and farmers are hop-scotching between fields as locations come ready at different times. The extended wet spring either delayed planting in some places or required replanting so plant maturity is variable.
“The harvest is good,” said Vick Bowyer, who was helping his son Stephen with bean harvest Tuesday afternoon in Edgar Township. “It’s better than I expected with how dry it has been.”
Dry conditions are a double-edged sword right now. One the one hand, harvest is not experiencing any rain delays so it is moving along rapidly.
Vick Bowyer, who is retired and turned the farming operations over to his son, estimated they will be done with beans in about seven days and can return to shelling corn.
A lack of rain when needed did hurt yield and the continuing dryness poses a risk of field and equipment fires.
Current conditions, including an extended hot spell, seem unusual Bowyer said. He explained a neighbor’s cornfield tested at 20 percent moisture Sept. 22. The moisture was down to 14 percent just four days later.
“That’s some pretty fast field drying,” said Bowyer. “We cut beans north of Newman this morning and they were 8 percent. I don’t think I’ve ever seen beans down to 8 percent in the field.”