Tri-State farmers begin corn harvest

Farmers are getting their first look at yields as they start the corn harvest and while usually good yields are a positive thing, it could hurt them in the long run.

Local farmers said that the initial harvest for corn is looking good, but Adams County Farm Bureau officials said because prices are already low this could drive prices down even further.

"We don’t have everything irrigated, but the stuff we did have irrigation on should be nice," said Bryan Koeller, a Pike County, Illinois farmer is just starting his corn harvest for the year. He said that while so far crop yield looks okay, he’s just started and it’s hard to tell how things will pan out.

That’s in line with what officials at the Adams County Farm Bureau said also.

"I think farmers are going to be pleased with the yields, I don’t think we’ll see record yields, it was just a little too hot too long during the growing season," said Adams County Farm Bureau manager Shawn Valter.

But that isn’t the only concern for local farmers, who are dealing with retaliatory tariffs that mean their are fewer markets for their crops, meaning less profit.

"Prices are low right now, and I think with the large projected yields that are out there that will be harvested this fall, that will only drive prices even lower," said Valter, who said that means farmers have to work the market to get better prices, "that’s why a lot of farmers have put up on farm storage in recent years, that way they can store it on the farm and market it at a later date when prices are a little better."

But some farmers said that can be hard when you’ve already taken hits.

"It’s getting tougher and tougher every year, every time you have a season like this it’s very difficult," said Koeller, who said that reinvesting in on-site storage and new equipment has to wait when you aren’t making much to begin with, "you have to cut back and make cuts, and more cuts, anywhere from putting off buying any kind of equipment and replace it, stuff like that. More storage, try and use the market that way."

Adams County Farm Bureau officials said that while tariffs mean that china may be buying less product from the US, the overall supply of crops in the world doesn’t go up, so other countries may be looking to buy more than normal, and that corn is selling for $3.54 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade but Tri-State farmers get a little less than that from local buyers. The usual price is closer to around $4 a bushel.

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