I spent this morning helping Dad get the combine ready, we thought today might be the day we tried testing picking some corn. However, it was soon determined that we could not get everything ready in time to get a good start, so maybe tomorrow. It is probably OK that we waited because I can remember very few years when the crops were actually ready the first day we tried them. The moisture content of grain must be at an acceptable level or lower so it can be stored without spoiling.
I guess it is easy to be too anxious when your whole year's work (not to mention your paycheck)is riding on a few weeks work that can be ruined by one bad storm or a prolonged period of wet weather. Farming can be maddening when you get up each morning and look at a crop that is ready or close to being ready to harvest.
I guess that is why we usually jump the gun and try to harvest before the crop is ready each year. We know that the next hail storm or wind storm can wipe out a once promising crop in just a minute or two. Just as devastating would be a prolonged period of wet weather that could ruin the quality of the crop making it worth less money or even destroying it.
Sure there is crop insurance but crop insurance only pays enough to cover most of our expenses (notice I said most). In agriculture, farmers and ranchers pay themselves last and that is what we live off of for the next year. We pay for the seed, fertilizer, herbicide, equipment, rent, interest and all the other expenses first and if there is anything left over that is our paycheck. No wonder we are chomping at the bit to get into the field.
However, as with many things, the timing of harvest is out of our hands. The grain must dry down to a level at which it can be stored and the fields must be dry enough to hold up our equipment. So the only thing we can do in the weeks leading up to harvest is to prepare our equipment for the rigors of harvest and pray for a window of good weather.
The forecast for next week calls for rain off and on for three or four days. That gives us a window of three to four days (we need at least three weeks) to get as much out as we can. Hopefully tomorrow will dawn a good day, the grain will be dry and we will be able to start our fall harvest. If not we will anxiously have one eye on the fields and one eye on the weather forecast.