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Soybean desiccation begins in Iowa and North Carolina

Kelly Garrett and Kevin Matthews begin desiccating their soybeans as Matt Miles begins harvesting rice.


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

We started desiccating our soybeans this week. After last year’s results, desiccation is now part of our standard practice. It really allows us to control the harvest window, while increasing combine speed. Normally, we’d be running around 1-2 mph when combining beans, but after desiccation, we're able to run 3-4 mph. That’s a huge difference that will allow us to be done with soybeans in about 4 weeks. We are excited to get into the fields and see the yields. We think that this might be one of our best soybean crops yet.

Our corn is moving along, and it appears that some of it will be tremendous. However, some of the earlier planted corn on corn may take a yield hit due to some heavy residue issues we had from the previous year’s corn crop. We have identified a few residue breakdown products that we are excited to try this fall and report back to our XtremeAg members on results.


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

Well, it has been two weeks since my last blog and all the corn is in the bins. Our yields were very erratic with all the extreme heat we experienced this season. Some of our better land that has a little different soil type showed a 30 bushel per acre difference in the field. Normally with irrigation, our yields stay more consistent, but the heat this summer was by far the worst I’ve seen in my farming career. There were very few days this season that gave us a break from the high temperatures.

We have harvested a few of our soybean acres. They will also take a yield hit form the heat, but I’m thinking we will still have a decent crop. From what we can tell, the heat took a toll on our soybean seed size, but if we can keep the damage down, we will end up with a good crop.

A John Deere combine harvests rice in Arkansas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We just began harvesting our rice crop and it looks like it will at least be an average crop. Our cotton looks to be in trouble due to blight disease and the two weeks of wet and cloudy weather which has rotted a large percentage of our bolls.

Two semis with grain trailers load up with corn on Matt Miles' farm in Arkansas
Photo credit: XtremeAg

One positive note is our basis on corn and soybeans for early harvest has really helped correct any marketing mistakes we made during the year. I have shipped about two-thirds of my corn out. 

As I said in my last blog, we must keep a good attitude and know that there are other years coming that will be even better. Good luck and stay alert as we begin working the extra-long hours during harvest.

Matt Miles soybean pods
Photo credit: XtremeAg


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.

Northern Leaf Blight has moved into our area quickly in the past week and a half. The corn that was sprayed on time is holding strong. The corn that was sprayed on the later end of that window has since shut down from the disease. Driving down the road you’d think it was just drying down quickly, but it is really the leaf blight disease that is killing the plant and ending growth. We are scouting fields to see if they need a second fungicide application to protect against this late season wave of disease. Everything has already been sprayed once, but it’s nearing the end of its protection window from that application. There are areas that are getting sprayed for a second time this week.

Kevin Matthews holds a diseased corn leaf
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We have made it through August without a hurricane. That is a blessing for sure! Now that we have begun desiccating soybeans, let’s hope the weather stays nice to ensure good grain quality. Irrigation is wrapping up with just a few acres of soybeans and some river bottom corn needing a couple last drinks before it’s time to flush our Netafim drip and Valley pivots for wintertime.

We have so many test plots to get data from to share with our XtremeAg members and partners later this year.

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