Field Notes opened the farm gate this spring and provided followers with an inside look at the activities of several farmers from a variety of geographical areas.

Now, this innovative series brings Chip Bowling from the shores of Maryland and Tom Martin from central Illinois together to share their perspectives on the crop condition in their respective areas and on the preparations under way for harvest.

While Martin finally got some rain that could have helped improve crop condition, it was accompanied by large hail, which is uncharacteristic for his area.

 “While the hail was spotty and isolated, it hit about 30 to 40 percent of our acres,” said Martin. “There is about 40 percent damage on our soybeans. It is really hard to tell how much damage was done to our corn at this stage in the game, but we are more worried about grain quality if it did get down to some of the ears.”

With some corn in his area already mature and with moisture content steadily decreasing, Martin predicts that harvest will begin toward the middle to end of this week in central Illinois. To prepare, he is making any necessary repairs to his farm equipment and cleaning out his grain bins.

In Maryland, Chip Bowling has begun similar harvest preparations, but the crop condition in his area could differ from that of the 2011 harvest in Illinois.

 “Up until Monday night, we were finally getting some rain,” said Bowling. “We got about an inch and seven-tenths in a three-day period, which was a great rain, but we could use quite a bit more. Some farmers within 150 miles of us got 12 inches in that time, which is way too much, way too late. It is incredibly spotty here this year.”

To listen to the full interview, click here.