Iowa Soybean Harvest Catching Up

  • Slow harvest

    So far this year, harvest has been a slow one for farmers in Iowa, delayed by slow maturing corn and frequent rains. And this week started out no different with more wet weather. Thankfully last week there was a break from the rains that allowed farmers to push combine throttles forward and bring in more crops.

  • Soybean progress

    Farmers harvested 30% of the soybean acres during the 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork last week, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. This pushed soybean harvest to 39% complete, just one week behind normal. Corn harvest has still been slow with just 10% finished, about 3 weeks behind the average pace.

  • Roger Wacha's farm

    Two weeks ago Roger Wacha, Toledo, Iowa, only had 10 acres of corn done and hadn’t even touched his soybeans. He made good progress last week, harvesting 15% of his corn and 10% of soybeans. “For the most part we’ve been running all week,” he says. “If it’d dry out, we’d make a lot more progress.”

  • Moving along

    Corn on Wacha’s farm has looked good compared to previous years with yields over 200 compared to the 185 on-farm average. Soybeans have been hit or miss. Sudden death syndrome has caused lower yields in some fields while other fields have looked better. Yields have ranged from 40 to 70 bushels per acre. Wacha’s average typically ranges from 50 to 55 bushels per acre.

  • Charlie Scott's farm

    Charlie Scott made great strides on his soybean acres near Marengo, Iowa. He completed 75% of his soybean harvest, which was only 20% done two weeks ago. With the focus on soybeans, only a small percentage of corn harvest was completed. Total he has 9% of corn acres done, up from 5% two weeks ago.

  • Disappointing yields

    Scott has had disappointing yields on some soybean fields that got too wet, averaging high 30 to mid 40 bushels per acre. On some dryer fields, the average has been in the upper 60s.

  • I80 Farms

    Bill Talsma, from I80 Farms in Colfax, Iowa, had a bit of a rough week as far as harvest goes. He lost an engine in a combine, one in a semi, and a set of duals off a combine. “But other than that, harvest has been pretty decent,” he says laughing. Despite the delays, 25% of his soybeans are harvested and about 25 to 30% of corn.

  • No record crop here

    Talsma isn’t expecting a record harvest this year. Yields are coming in right at average with about 205 bushels per acre for corn and 61 for soybeans. Why not a record harvest? “We had a terribly wet June and then August was worse,” he says. During the month of August, Talsma says they had about 20 inches of rain. “All of the hype about a record corn crop isn’t really in this area,” he explains.

  • Disease problems

    The rain has also caused a lot of lesion diseases like northern corn leaf blight as well as stalk rot, Talsma says. “Stalk quality in corn isn’t very good,” he adds. “All of that moisture caused a lot of problems in the corn crop.”

  • Longing for $8 corn

    When asked if he would prefer $8 corn and a smaller crop or a $3 market
    with a record crop, Talsma quickly said he’d take the $8 corn even
    with a smaller crop. “Historically you’re always better off with more
    bushels,” he says. “But that’s when you have a $.50 or $1 fluctuation in
    price. When you go from $8 to $3, it’s a huge drop. I’d take the $8 any
    day.”

Iowa farms made great strides in soybean harvest last week before this week's wet conditions slowed down progress again.

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