Combines are starting to criss-cross farm fields in eastern South Dakota, a good two weeks ahead of schedule. Farmers in the Mt. Vernon area began their corn harvest last week. The drought last year cut yields in half. But much more favorable weather is resulting in an above-average harvest this year.
The fall harvest started while it was still technically summer in Mt. Vernon.
"If it's ready, you got to roll," farmer Chet Edinger said.
Mt. Vernon avoided the ravages of the cold, wet spring that kept farmers in many other areas from planting on time.
"The old saying: you plant in the dust, your bins will bust, was the case this year because it was dry when we planted all the corn got in first before the rains and they it rained after we got the corn in," Edinger said.
A hot month of August dried out the corn enough to begin the early harvest.
"We did dry some corn last week, we were worried about some ear-drop on a a couple of varieties so we took that out, we dried that corn down and now we're just going straight to the bin with this corn," Edinger said.
Corn prices are down this fall compared to last year. But Edinger says he can make up for the drop in price with higher yields this year.
"Some guys don't touch their corn until middle of October. I mean, right now, I sold corn and it's all going east, it's going to Marion, and it's going to points in Iowa and Nebraska because they're not going over there yet, Edinger said.
A two-week jump on the harvest is laying the groundwork for what what should be a profitable growing season.
Edinger planted 20-percent more corn this year. So the early harvest gives him that much more time to get the additional crop out of the ground.