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      Drought forces farmer to forego fall harvest

      A Kirksville farmer decided to chop his corn now instead of combine it this fall.

      A northeast Missouri farmer isn't waiting until fall harvest to get his corn out of the field.

      Jim Novinger of Kirksville is doing it now, not because he wants to, but because he thinks it's the best decision considering the circumstances.

      This week, Novinger and his crew were using a large piece of equipment called a forage harvester to chop 150 acres of his corn into silage to feed his livestock.

      Novinger said this particular corn, which was planted at the end of April, was doing very poorly because of the drought.

      He told KTVO this has been the hottest and driest year he has seen in his nearly 40 years of farming in northeast Missouri.

      "This corn here is going to make less than 10 bushel per acre so we decided, we're in need of cattle feed for winter to replace hay that we don't have so we're going to use this corn silage to replace it,?? said Novinger.

      Novinger said he hopes the chopped corn will take the place of approximately 1,000 big bales of hay.

      He said he did this same thing with some corn during the 1988 drought, but it's not something he normally does.

      Novinger and his crews started with the 150 acres, and they will probably chop some more.

      He said his corn that he planted really early this past spring is doing the best at standing up to the drought.