Soysbeans are all over the place in maturity these days, say area educators. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Soysbeans are all over the place in maturity these days, say area educators. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT COUNTY – Local Ohio State University agriculture educators are characterizing harvest conditions this fall as, “all over the board.” Professionals such as Paulding County’s Sarah Noggle and Van Wert County’s Curtis Young refer to the topic in several ways.

“The conditions of crops in reference to harvest are so variable. They are all over the board,” said Paulding County’s Sarah Noggle. “After such a wet spring causing us to have one of the latest plantings ever, the shift to such hot and dry weather this late has much of the corn drying up and firing severely.

“Beans are extremely variable. Many farmers are finally getting into fall bean harvest while maturity is slow in other areas, depending on the time they were planted, the type of soil and the amount of rain in each area,” continued Noggle.

Young said earlier that when many of the crops, particularly corn, was “looking good” from the road, he feared that production later wouldn’t reflect the type of appearance being set forth. Now, with the fall dry and hot weather, that assessment appears to be coming to fruition.

One of the biggest concerns that both Noggle and Young have these days is the growing danger of fires in both equipment and fields, especially where harvest paths close to dry forests are especially susceptible to fire dangers.

Young especially advocates several safety tips based on a recent release through “Corn Newsletter.”

“Keeping a combine out of barns, sheds and away from other flammables is a common prevention strategy in case a hot spot ignites,” commented Dee Jepsen of CORN Newsletter. “Insurance claims can double when equipment fires are responsible for loss of farm structures.”

Young advocated such important equipment strategy as regular maintenance and keeping dried plant material from accumulating on the equipment.

“Be sure to inspect the engine compartment and other areas where chaff accumulates around bearings, belts and other moving parts,” said Young.

“Maintain the electrical system, refuel a cool engine whenever possible and prevent static electricity while operating in a dry field,” said the educator.

Jepsen emphasized the importance of having two fully charged fire extinguishers on the combine.

“In a combine, keep 10-pound unit in the cab a 20-pound unit mounted at ground level,” said Jepsen. ”Have one fully charged fire extinguisher in the tractor, gain cart and pickup truck. When a fire appears, it is important to put worker protection before saving equipment.

“Combine fires happen fast, be sure all employees know what to do if smoke or fire appears,” added Jepsen.

Other suggestions included turning off the engine and using a shovel on small field debris fires.

“Throwing dirt over burning field residue can stop a fire from spreading. However, stay back if the fire takes off,” said Young.