Seed corn harvest previews record season

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As a picker rolls through a Knox County field, the 2014 seed corn harvest is right on schedule for Munson Hybrids.

"We can stand being a little bit dry as long as it's not too hot," said John Hennenfent, Munson's owner. "We just had great conditions temperature-wise this year."

On a picture-perfect Monday, there's ideal harvesting weather. Growers pick seed corn earlier than field corn. The process will take about a month.

This head start is a preview of what's to come. Field corn growers should begin harvesting in about a week.  With a bumper crop on the way, it could create storage issues for local farmers.

"I think the storage demands are going to be pretty tight this year," Hennenfent said. "I think we'll probably see more piles of corn on the ground and outside storage."

That won't be a problem at Munson Hybrids. Crews are working two shifts to get the job done.

There's enough room to store everything on-site, but other growers will need alternatives to stockpile their crops.

"I don't think growers are real anxious to sell anything right way with the way prices are right now," Hennenfent said.

Many factors are pointing to a near-record harvest. That's good for supplies while tough on tumbling prices.

Hennenfent does worry that some local growers could face a cash flow crunch in coming months.

"We could wish that prices were a little bit better," he concluded. "But good crops generally bring a little lower price."