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The 2019 corn harvest kicked off last week as area farmers entered the fields with their combines and started delivering to local elevators.

The harvest is picking up steam with a noticeable increase in the amount of corn being brought to elevators Monday morning, said Selena Cheek, administrative assistant at Lansing Elevator in Wisner.

Darren Herrington of Fort Necessity delivered the first 900 bushels Aug. 2 to Lansings.

Two major factors play key roles in the corn harvest: moisture content and weather.

Moisture content plays a critical role for farmers when delivering corn to commercial elevators. Too wet, and corn is moisture-discounted at sale. Too dry, and the corn loses weight from shrinkage, resulting in profit loss.

If the harvested corn has a moisture content of 15 at the elevator, a dockage is not charged, Cheek said.

“The higher the moisture percentage, the higher the percentage charge to dry it down,” Cheek said. “We will take corn up to 17.5 moisture content.”

Other farmers who own and operate their own elevators began corn harvest earlier last week, said Carol Pinnell-Alison, LSU AgCenter county agent. An advantage of farmer-owned elevators is not having the dockage charge if corn is of higher moisture content.

This year’s harvest date started earlier than previous years, an ongoing trend for area corn, Pinnell-Alison said.

“Corn is now the primary crop,” Pinnell-Alison said. “This gives the crop a lot more attention, and farmers are now planting more corn varieties. Some of these varieties can have an earlier harvest.”

The corn’s early harvest date, happening during the dry season, has been a dominant factor in the rise of its popularity among local farmers. With typical dry August weather, farmers do not have to worry as much with rain during harvest as they do with cotton.

“The issue with cotton was harvest season,” Pinnell-Alison said. “Harvest season started in October during hurricane season.”

Overall, Pinnell-Alison said Franklin Parish farmers should see a good corn season.

“We had a rocky start earlier in the season with the backwater,” Pinnell-Alison said. “But, overall (corn) looks good at this point.”

In other farming news, the annual LSU AgCenter sweet potato field day is set for Aug. 22 at Black Gold Farms headquarters on the Franklin-Richland Parish border on La. Hwy. 17.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. followed by tours at 9 a.m.

“This field day offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with our industry and tour an on-farm site to address the latest in sweet potato production and marketing research,” said Tara Smith, AgCenter Sweet Potato Research Station coordinator.

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