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Harvest dust is flying
The dust is really flying in central Iowa this week as farmers take advantage of the dry, warmer-than-normal weather to knock a chunk out of their corn and soybean harvest.
Monday's USDA Crop Progress report showed soybean harvest progress made big strides last week, and that's the case Story and Boone counties in Iowa, where farmers were mostly in soybean fields Tuesday.
Yields have been coming in better than expected for Rick and Grant Kimberley near Maxwell, Iowa. "Beans are going to yield in the 50s and up to the mid-60s," Rick says. "The weather's been great...nice and dry."
The Kimberleys estimate, with a good week of progress this week, they'll be past the halfway point to completion in their soybeans. They've got about 20% of their corn harvested so far, Rick says.
Meanwhile, the corn's posing more of a challenge. A mid-July wind storm knocked down a lot of the Kimberleys' corn. The crop did bounce back, but Grant estimates they lost 30 to 40 bushels/acre of yield potential from the storm.
A few days after that wind storm, which hit about a week before pollination, Grant says he noticed the corn started shooting out brace roots further up the stalk. In some fields, the plants have brace roots growing 4 nodes high on the corn stalks.
To help harvest that downed corn, Kimberleys added a reel to their corn header as well as John Deere's RowFinder technology. "It helps find the root mass and keeps you going straight," Grant says. "In some of these fields, you can't tell where the row is. It doesn't work perfectly, but it helps cut down on the number of headaches."
After a couple minor breakdowns earlier in the day Tuesday, Kelley Kokemiller was running hard Tuesday afternoon in one of his fields near Boone, Iowa. "Hopefully the weather will stay good and we can get a lot done this week," he says.
Thus far, Kokemiller's been pleasantly surprised by his soybean yields. Though he hasn't "cracked the 70-bushel barrier," his yields have averaged 52-69 bushels/acre. "It's been our best year for beans on average," he says.
What was this year's biggest lesson for Kokemiller? "It's amazing how timely rains are so important. We had a 4-inch rain event in August, and that just made the beans. That wil tell the story," he says.
Kokemiller's about halfway through his soybeans and, like Kimberleys, around 20% done with corn. He hopes to be done with harvest in 3 weeks. "We've got to have sunshine every day, though," he adds.