It's been slow going this fall, but that's no surprise to many of you. Although we finished up soybeans here on the Spangler farm over a week ago, our corn crop is just over half harvested. Maybe closer to 70% by the end of today. My husband, John, estimates that we'll need another good 15 days to finish up corn harvest.
In a normal year, we'd all be wrapping things up by this point, or if we weren't done, the end would very nearly be in sight. In fact, the IDOA reports that last year on October 26, the corn crop was 94% harvested. This year? Just 46% is out of the fields. The five-year average for that date in Illinois is 85% harvested.
And although we're basking in some beautiful fall weather during the latter half of this week, whether the weather will turn on us soon is becoming a hot topic of conversation. Last week was colder and wetter than average, and we started off this week with unbelievable wind. Folks braced themselves as they walked out of our country church Sunday, and corn leaves and husks blew across the sky with entirely too much frequency. Folks are reporting downed corn in parts of the state, and it's obvious here that if the wind didn't take a plant down entirely, it often took the top out of it.
These are not good signs, of course, and though "panic" is too strong of a word, some farmers are starting to reminisce (though not fondly) about those years when harvesting on Thanksgiving day was the norm. Jim Lock, an Avon farmer, recalled the days when they used to break for an hour and a half for Thanksgiving dinner, then head back to the field. There are lots of "good old days," but that's one I don't necessarily want to go back to.