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Corn Yields Across Iowa Exceeding Expectations

Farmers across Iowa are harvesting higher than expected corn yields, despite drought conditions that affected a wide swath across the southern portion of the state.

“I’ve seen more 300-bushels of corn this year than I’ve ever harvested before,” says Kurt Hora, who farms in southeastern Iowa in Washington County. “We’re probably going to have our best farm yield average ever on corn.”

Corn got off to a great start in Hora’s region with “terrific stands,” but things took a turn in June and July when little rain fell. Luckily, the rains picked up in mid-August, bringing much-needed moisture.

Wayne Humphreys also farms in southeast Iowa. “We limped along from one shower to the next, ending up about 30% short on our average rainfall,” says the Louisa County farmer. “But our yields are surprising.”

In a field harvested on Sunday, the yield monitor hit 300 bushels a couple of times. Another field that has never averaged more than 180 bushels averaged 226 this year.

In southwest Iowa, Duane Aistrope had trouble getting all of his crop into the ground when frequent rains interrupted planting. “I have some areas I never got planted and some acres that were switched from corn to beans that didn’t amount to a whole lot after we got them planted the second time,” says the farmer from Fremont County.

Despite this, corn yields have been good overall. “I never expected to see what I saw out there. We’re bouncing anywhere between 270 and 300,” says Aistrope.

“It is going to average below the farm average,” he adds, with yields around 200 to 220 bushels per acre.

In the northeast corner of the state, farmers are just getting started on corn harvest, according to Mark Recker, who farms in Fayette County. “Early indications are that yields are going to be above average, which is surprising given the dry conditions and variability we had throughout the season,” he says.

Recker’s region was dry in June with lots of substantial rain in July. “I had 6 or 7 inches one night on my farm alone. Then we turned dry in August and September, which we thought would have an impact on yields,” he explains.

Soybean yields on Recker’s farm are average to below average with a wide range from 45 to 70 bushels per acre.

Hora has only harvested 35 acres of beans at his place, but yields are coming in average to a little higher with yields in the high 60s and low 70s. “We’re looking at a very good year here production-wise,” he says.

In west-central Iowa, Larry Klever has harvested a few soybean fields with yields coming in at the upper 50s. His area in Audubon County had ample subsoil moisture to start off the growing season before a dry summer with spotty rains. “On August 21, I had 6.5 inches of rain, and I’ve had well over 10 inches total since then. The rain maybe came in a little late, but I guess we’re working on next year’s subsoil moisture.”

He hasn’t started on corn harvest yet, but he’s optimistic after hearing about good yields in other parts of the state.

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