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'One of the better ones'

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    Local manager Mike Sayler unloads a wagon of corn at the Central Farmers elevator on Freeman’s Main Street in October.

Considering a wet start in spring and a wet start to the fall, the 2017 harvest has gone remarkably well for farmers across the Freeman community. In fact, “remarkably well” may be an understatement.

“I think it’s one of the better ones we’ve had,” Mike Sayler, manager of the Central Farmers elevator in Freeman, says of the harvest that got a late start because of rain in late September. “It’s not a record year, but it’s up there.”

Several things make it so. With many across the community already finished and the balance wrapping up soon, the harvest is ahead of schedule. That’s thanks to a virtually uninterrupted bean harvest done in the surroundings of beautiful October weather and a corn harvest that, with the exception of a pesky light snowfall early this week that delayed farmers a day or two, has gone equally well.

“Usually we go right up to Thanksgiving weekend,” Sayler said. “But we should be pretty well wrapped up by the end of the week — around here anyway. A lot of them are done and there are a few people who, if we wouldn’t have had that snow (on Monday), would be done, too. Just a half-inch of snow can bring everybody to a stop.”

The grains are yielding well, too. 

Sayler says with the exception of some fields that saw damage to crops because of hail and high winds, beans came in anywhere from 30 to 60 bushels per acre. Corn yields have been anywhere from 140 to 200.

While farmers are do doubt celebrating a good harvest, and many of them no doubt thrilled to be done well in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday, low commodity prices continue to dampen an otherwise good spirit. 

Corn is hovering around $2.80.

“It’s just kind of tough,” Sayler said.