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Harvest begins with unexpected challenges

The start of harvest brings unexpected challenges for XtremeAg farmers Matt Miles, Kevin Matthews, and Kelly Garrett.


A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa. 

We have officially started harvest. The first few fields we cut were the early planted soybeans that had some issues at planting time due to the very heavy residue leftover from our no-till corn the year before. They averaged about 55 bpa.

A green John Deere sprayer in a field of green soybeans in western Iowa
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Our corn-on-corn field with residue problems ended up averaging 165 bpa. The early soybean and corn yields are disappointing and show just how difficult residue is to overcome in a no-till operation like ours. We are trialing several different products this fall to see which ones break up the residue best. 

We are harvesting one of our rotated corn fields this week. It is 109-day maturity. The corn is making 230 bpa at 26-27% moisture. Overall, I think yields here will be alright considering the hot dry summer that we had. It shows that the plant health and stress mitigation products we are using are really paying for themselves.


Matt Miles is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. After several weeks of subpar weather, we have a fantastic forecast for harvest. With about five days to go on soybeans and rice, all the grain will soon be a done deal.

Damage on soybeans has been the main concern from Louisiana up into the Delta. Some elevators are rejecting more trucks than they are allowing, and a 11% damaged bean delivery is being discounted $2.50-$2.75 a bushel. If a farmer did a bad job of marketing his beans this will make a huge impact as inputs are still at all-time highs.

Brown damaged soybeans sitting in a white bucket
Photo credit: XtremeAg

I'm often asked if desiccating soybeans increases the damage. I lean toward the answer being, “no” or “not much.” The problem is when beans are ready and temperatures and moisture are high, the bean is prone to damage anyway. The moisture and high temperature factors are common in the Delta. I walked fields prior to desiccation and damage was already present. We cut fields that were desiccated and fields that were not and there is no visible difference in the damage.

Bad soybeans in Arkansas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Rumors of multiple bean barges floating in the Gulf with damage graded beans without a home is putting extreme pressure on elevators to grade extra hard and charge excessively to cover any possible losses. I thank God every day for providing me with the opportunity to have bins. This allows us to store those otherwise rejected beans and our better beans, so when discounts and damage nightmares cease, we can blend some and sell the crop. Hopefully, with the weather getting back to normal in the Delta, things will improve. It’s kind of like a “run on the bank.” Once the rumor is out, panic sets in.

Good luck with harvest. Be sure to stay safe as we are all pushing our limits physically to get harvest done.


Kevin and his wife, Cindy, own and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville.

Each harvest season has its own challenges. It can be going great but within minutes things can change drastically. We had a dryer fire that resulted in a total loss a week ago. As devastating as the situation is, we are thankful nobody was hurt. We are blessed with great local first responders who kept everyone safe while working to put the fire out. Corn harvest is now looking different as we must truck corn further away from the field to be dried.

A grain dryer on fire in North Carolina
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We had a straight week of rain that slowed down our soybean desiccation. We are now just getting started on harvesting soybeans. We think we will be back to full force harvesting soybeans in the next two weeks. 

This week we will be harvesting multiple test plots. It is going to be exciting to see the results. 

Lastly, it’s National Farm Safety Week. As we get further into harvest, remember to slow down, and pay attention to the details.

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