Iowa Harvest Progress

  • Slow harvest

    Slow harvest
    Iowa’s harvest has been progressing at a snail’s pace. As of October 5, only 5% of corn has been harvested, 3 weeks behind the normal pace according to the USDA NASS’s weekly report. Soybean harvest is 9% complete, the lowest percentage harvested by this date in more than 30 years. Slow maturing corn, higher moisture levels, and wet conditions are to blame for the harvest delay.

  • Conditions in eastern Iowa

    Conditions in eastern Iowa
    Charlie Scott’s soybean harvest progress is slightly ahead of the rest of Iowa. He has 20% of soybeans out of the field. Corn has been a little slower, and he’s right at the Iowa average with 5% of corn harvest done. Scott is forecasting a longer harvest because corn isn’t drying down as quickly as normal. Scott, shown left, farms in Marengo, Iowa.

  • A record harvest?

    A record harvest?
    Unlike many farmers, Scott isn’t expecting a record harvest this year. “Yields will be less than last year because of a dry spell we got this summer,” he says. In addition, his corn just didn’t see enough heat degree days. In the fields harvested this year, yields have ranged from 208 to 229 bushels per acre, better than he expected but not touching last year’s 267 to 276 yields in those same fields.

  • Soybean slump

    Soybean slump
    The same is true in Scott’s soybean fields. “The soybeans are shorter than last year and are averaging about 5 to 10 bushels less,” he says. Soybean yields so far this year have ranged from 50s in the hills up to 66 bushels per acre. Last year almost all fields were in the 60 bushels per acre range.

  • Barely rolling in Toledo

    Barely rolling in Toledo
    Roger Wacha’s harvest has been off to a very slow start in Toledo, Iowa. As of October 3, he only had 10 acres of corn done. He’s hoping conditions this week will be more favorable so he can progress with corn harvest and get into the soybeans. Wacha agrees that it could be a long harvest thanks to slow maturing corn.

  • Challenging conditions

    Challenging conditions
    Slow maturing corn, higher moisture levels, and stalk rot will make this a tough harvest, says Wacha. He says so far he only has seen stalk rot in one field but thinks it may be more widespread.

  • Storing grain

    Storing grain
    With a predicted record harvest and low grain prices, it’s looking like a hot year to store grain. Both Scott and Wacha say this won’t be a problem. Scott has three on-farm storage sites and three grain elevators close enough to haul to. Plus, his close proximity to ADM and Cargill means he always has plenty of places to bring grain. Wacha has enough grain storage on-site to store, so he also isn’t worried about grain storage.

  • Thoughts on lower grain prices

    Lower grain prices
    We asked both farmers if they’d rather have $8 corn and a smaller crop or a $3 market with a record crop. Wacha said he’d like to have $8 corn back and the 180 bushel on-farm average he had last year. Scott said, “We’re better off never seeing $8 corn. It raised rent, fertilizer, and other inputs. It makes it tough living on $2.50 corn.” He says regardless of crop price, he’d rather have a better crop. “It’s more fun picking 250 bushel corn,” he says.

Iowa farmers report on harvest conditions so far this fall.

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