JACKSON, Minn. -- After weeks of concern about the impact of the drought, the combine is meeting the corn. Three weeks ahead of normal, Minnesota cornfields are dry enough to harvest.
"I've been farming since '68 and I think I've only combined corn one other time in September, and that was later in the year," says Gene Michelson as he steers his John Deere combine through corn stalks dry before their time.
An early harvest is just one impact of the drought of 2012. "Some of the ears here are pretty decent, but you can see they're tipped back a little bit, they're not filled completely to the end," Michelson explains.
Still, Michelson is encouraged by early yields coming out of his fields - not a bumper crop, but far from the disastrous crop conditions in other parts of the Midwest.
"Looks to be much better than expected," says Aric Gordon, grain division manager for FCA Co-op in Jackson.
Gordon says early yields have varied in Jackson County, according to which areas benefited from spotty rains through the summer.
Farmers fortunate enough to have a good crop will be in an enviable position when the corn is marketed. "We went in the past four years from two dollar corn in 2006 to eight dollar corn in 2012," says Gordon. "Having corn this year is a very good thing."
Good if you're selling, anyway. High corn prices also foreshadow cost increases at the grocery store on everything from cornflakes, to meat, to milk.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)