South Texas farmers excited about corn harvest despite late planting season

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Posted at 9:30 AM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 10:40:05-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It was a rough start for South Texas farmers this season, too much rain and cool grounds meant a late planting season.

Despite the slow start, farmers' are now off and running.

Many farmers have just finished up harvesting sorghum and now are starting to harvest corn.

This corn season has farmers excited.

“It is extremely exciting. We are making great yield on sorghum and corn; it is stuff we haven’t seen in our lifetime actually,” said South Texas farmer Daniel Wendland.

Yields like this make up for the bad times in the past and the ones to come. Yields are 6 to 8 thousand pounds to the acre.

“The yields we are having today are going to bring anywhere from $350 to $450 an acre. You multiply that times a 1,000 acres, you are going to get a pretty good chuck of changes for yields like this,” said Wendland.

When it comes to harvesting, a lot has changed since the mid-20th century when farmers saw the introduction of the self-propelled combine.

“These combines can roll through the field at 7,8,9, miles an hour. Their capability and their expense, you are talking about machines costing $700,000 to $750,000, but their efficiency is absolutely incredible compared to the past,” said Wendland.

In the past it would take farmers 3 to 4 weeks to harvest their grain crop, now it takes about 7 to 10 days.

“This combine behind me has a 16-row corn head on it, and what it does is pull the ears off of the stalk and crushes the stalk down, it kind of deteriorates that stalk for us. Then it takes that corn in, and it rolls it off the cob and separates the trash from the corn, and filters the corn out to where that is the only thing we put into the truck and take to the elevator, ” said Wendland.

The technology with these expensive combines just continues to advance to meet farmers’ needs. Modern combines come equipped with on-board electronics to measure operation and yield data and have anywhere between 30 and 40 computer systems inside them compared to most cars that only have 10 to 12 computer systems.