Harvest: Good but not as good as 2016

Posted October 26, 2017 at 5:00 am


By Julie Ann Madden

Farmers are finishing up with the bean harvest, and some have already begun harvesting their corn crops.

“Last week was a magnificent week for harvest,” said Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomist Joel De Jong. “I’m not sure we’re close to 90 percent of the beans harvested already, and most of them went out last week. It was a great week.”

“On top of it, it was a great drying week for corn,” he said, noting two weeks ago the prediction was that there would be a lot of drying needed. “Now it looks like they aren’t going to have to dry the corn as much.”

Plymouth County also faired well — with just odds and ends of disease issues, said De Jong. “We didn’t have as many as people north of us. They had more rain in July and they had a lot more white mold than we did. In the river bottoms south of Sioux City, there were some disease issues.”

“We had a bigger issue with stress from not having much rain in the months of June and July,” he said, “but the beans performed pretty well, probably not as well as last year for most people but it was still a pretty good year.”

De Jong has heard 55 to 75 bushels an acre in bean yields although he hasn’t heard from many in the Akron area.

“I’ve seen 60s and 70s reported from quite a few people,” said De Jong. “That ultimately turned out pretty good.”

“Corn is a bit of a different story,” he said. “In northwest Iowa I’ve heard reports well between the 220 and 250 (bushels per acre) range. Occasionally a field yield of only 60 to 80 bushels, particularly in the areas that were drier.”

“Soil types made a big difference,” said De Jong. “Other issues also made a difference. It’s not really the year in Plymouth County for corn we had a year ago.”

“The good news was we got fortunate the end of July,” he said. “If we’d had another week or two of really hot weather, like the first couple to three weeks in July were, corn yields would have been significantly worse.”

“The average water need almost got cut in half during that time period,” said De Jong, “and because of that, those fields that were really on the edge could hang in there and do okay.”

“Then when we started getting rain in August, we could fill ears,” he explained, and we didn’t abort as many kernels because it got cooler and all those things were positive to allow us a chance to really get the yields we got.”

“We were pretty close to the edge,” said De Jong, “and some fields didn’t get over the edge but we had others that really did. Different hybrids I think made a big difference so we’re going to see about as wide a yield range in corn harvest yields — even going across individuals field but also between fields. It’s going to be quite a range of yields this year.”

“The rain in October is a good start for next year,” he added. “We’d pretty much used up everything in storage so we needed to start recharging for next year. Those rains we got were really positive, in my opinion.”

“The forecast is really quite good,” said De Jong. “I’m a little bit concerned about the wind we’re getting today (Monday, Oct. 23). I’m afraid we’ll have some stalks go down on the corn fields but you get past today and it looks like the wind kind of moderates, the temperature gets cooler but it’ll be sunny and dry.”

“We’re going to have a pretty good harvest window,” he said, “and that’s a good thing.”

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