Early harvest bad thing for farmers

This year may end up being one of the earliest harvests on record - but that's not good news for most farmers.

High heat and low moisture has shortened the growth cycle *and* dashed hopes of a great harvest.

We found the first combines in the field Monday.

It's not normal for Pike County, Illinois farmer Patrick Webster to be in the fields in August. But he says there's a first time for everything.

"Is it weird to be the only guys on the road right now?"

Webster said, "I think its going to get guys motivated. I think they were planning to anyway."

Webster says the early harvest is due to a couple of things. The crop here was planted early - in March. But Mother Nature threw hopeful farmers like him a curve ball in the form of no rain and extreme heat. That's cut yields by 25 percent.

Webster said, "We have really two weeks of really hot and dry weather and that happened around the time the corn was pollenating. It really hurt the corn at that time."

But the Websters may be some of the lucky ones.

The Webster's corn did have time to develop full ears like this before the dry weather set in. But most farmers are looking at fields of corn like this...not fully formed and just plain ugly.

"it's disappointing," said, Mike Roegge, an educator with the University of Illinois Extension. He says Adams County hasn't seen much more than a half an inch of rain since June.

Now corn plants are dying early and that translates into ugly ears of corn.

Roegge said, "So we're going to see reduced yields this year and a result of lack of rainfall and excessive heat."

Webster said, "It's kind of stunted and didn't get started like it could have."

Back in Pike County, the Websters continue with harvest. A sight that you'll be seeing more and more the next couple of weeks.

The news is even worse for soybean growers. Roegge says rainfall in August determines the yields for beans.

And with no rain - bean yields are questionable.