Crops are coming off and some local farmers are seeing numbers like never before.

“A lot of people have been surprised by the yields,” United Equity President and CEO Jackie Seibert said Tuesday. “They are seeing numbers they haven’t seen before and are very happy.”

There is a small issue this year with an unwanted pest. According to Seibert, stink bugs moved in later in the season and started nibbling on the beans.

“It’s not good but it looks worse than it is,” Seibert said. “After the beans are chewed on and then it rains, they can mold and become ugly. Some are worse than others but the yield is still very good.”

Prices are up as well.

“We got a boost in price and we are finally seeing $8 back on our board,” Seibert said. “Everybody’s happy about that.”

With a bountiful harvest, one of the big challenges ahead for area farmers is where to store all of the abundant grain that is in the process of being harvested, Van Wert County Ohio State University Extension director Curtis Young said.

“Some of the farmers might have to pile some of their overflowing harvest on the ground and wait for a place to sell it,” said Young. “The bean yield is going to be impressive, possibly 10 to 15 bushels above the county average as low yields.

“Some of the low yields that I’ve heard have been 75 bushels an acre and then it goes up from there,” continued Young. “The county average is 50-54 bushels an acre. It seems like the soybeans changed overnight, from full canopy to bare sticks ready for harvest.”

Young affirmed that this has been a good year for soybeans, with excellent growing conditions of higher temperatures and regular rains. He noted that the moisture content has been some of the most consistent in a long time.

“The corn crop dried down very regularly this year,” continued Young. “Farmers had a very timely planting season. Then there were some very good drying conditions and warm temperatures. There are some potential issues with corn waiting in the fields to be harvested including ear rot and potential stalk rot. If stalks bend down too quickly there can be severe lodging. If the moisture runs down the ear, it challenges possible rot and the feeding potential of that grain.”

In addition to the growing harvest, Young said that there is already a goodly amount of wheat being planted, possibly more than the past several years. He said that optimal time for planting wheat is the very end of September and the first part of October.

Safety is also always a concern at harvest time. Those driving down rural roads during heavy harvest season can’t possibly know what might be lurking on the other side of a hill, Young said.

“There could be a combine, other large harvest machinery, tractors pulling wagons or another vehicle trying to dodge farm machinery,” said Young. “In some of the extreme western part of our county or adjoining Adams County in Indiana, there could also be an Amish buggy behind the equipment. Caution is really needed as things can become extremely complicated.”

The public needs to appreciate the fact that they are sharing the road with large equipment, grain trucks and wagons.

“Farm machinery can’t respond as fast as the cars can respond to them,” Young continued. “This is high activity time. Patience needs to be a part of the non-farming public these days.”

He noted that trying to pass such equipment can be extremely dangerous.

“I know of too many situations where an impatient driver tried to pass such equipment and ended up with a very terrible effect. There are tons of obstructions out there, especially at night,” said Young. “Ultimately, a study shows that ending up behind such equipment doesn’t waste any more time than waiting through two stop lights,” continued Young.

Young said the farmer has to take as much responsibility for safety as the general public.

“If you are moving a combine from field to field, don’t leave the header on the combine. There’s not enough room to drive down the road if the header is left on the equipment. Make sure that all lights are functioning on vehicles and that ‘slow moving’ signs are clean and observable.”

Young noted that it is necessary for farmers to be mindful of their flashing lights. He noted that a driver following equipment with lights flashing all of the time can become hypnotized.

“It might be a good idea, especially when you are going to turn, to turn off the flashing lights so that the driver is alerted that some kind of change is about to take place,” said Young.

He also advocated good communication between the farmers in the field.

“A left hand turn is the worst,” noted Young. “When somebody following equipment sees the driver swerve to the right to make a left hand turn, he may think it is turning right and they can go around the left side.

“Sometimes it is better to hog the road when making a left hand turn so that vehicles won’t attempt to pass the combine,” added Young.

Young stressed that farmers should make sure that there is working fire equipment in each vehicle.