Harvest: Going well but a little slow

Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:00 am

By Julie Ann Madden

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As the sun went down Sunday, many farmers were busy combining. A few were finishing up their soybean harvest while others were getting a good start on the corn harvest before it started raining Monday.

Autumn harvest yields aren’t record setters but there’s not much to complain about at this point.

At the Farmers Cooperative Company in Akron, it’s the biggest soybean crop since Location Manager Pat Renken took over in 2006.

“It was an ideal growing season for beans,” said Renken Sunday afternoon, noting the moisture content is a little high so his employees are drying soybeans and corn around the clock. “We stressed the beans in July and gave them plenty of water in August — that’s just what you need for a good bean crop.”

Soybean yields have reportedly been in the high 50s to low 60s of bushels per acre, said Renken.

“It’s really quite good,” said Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist Joel DeJong. “I work in nine counties, and I can get some in the 40s occasionally but a lot are in the 50s and 60s.”

“I consider it a really good year,” said DeJong. “Maybe not a record-setter but one of the best ones for soybeans in western Plymouth County.”

Locally, 99 percent of the soybeans had been harvested by Sunday afternoon, said Renken.

“We’re getting a good start on corn (in the county),” said DeJong. “I know of an occasional person who’s already done but I’m going to guess one-third of the corn is (harvested), maybe a shade more but I don’t think we’re quite at the half mark yet.”

Yield-wise, DeJong has heard reports of 185 to 215 bushels an acre for corn.

“It depends on the field,” said DeJong. “I’ve heard of yields better than that and yields worse than that but 180-plus is pretty common.”

“Corn is right up there with one of the best years,” said Renken.
There are some cornstalk rot and stalk integrity issues,” said DeJong. “This year was pretty dry, and if you look at the plants, they aren’t as big as they are some years which tells me in the beginning of the season we didn’t have the best conditions.”

“But when we started filling ears, the ears stole a lot of nutrients from the stalks,” he explained. “If there was any disease issues with the stalks, it made it worse. We do have some fields and hybrids that don’t look like they’re going to stand very long.”

The corn is still fairly wet,” said DeJong, “so they’re going to be doing more drying than usual but if you’ve got a lot of bushels, that’s not always the worst thing in the world.”

“So, we’ll probably string harvest out a little longer,” said DeJong. “Hopefully, we’ll get some drying conditions and dry some of it. We’re a little behind where we expect to be for harvest but not horribly so.”

Corn was testing at 17 – 19 percent moisture, and Renken wanted it to be 15 to place it in a bunker or bin, so they’ve been drying all last week he told The Akron Hometowner.

“After last year, this is awesome,” said Renken. “Last year was hard on everybody, especially livestock producers.”

“This is a good deal for the livestock industry,” said Renken. “We need this big crop and downtown Akron needs this, too.”

“We need to keep the livestock guys in business so this crop is definitely a blessing,” said Renken, adding his crew has been working every day this month.

“It does get to be a lot (on the crew),” said Renken. “I can’t say enough of them.”

They miss out on a lot of things with family, children and grandchildren, he said. “It gets to be a little taxing on the home life.”

“They sacrifice a lot during harvest so I really appreciate them,” said Renken.

Akron employees are Emily Colt, Lynn McCrory, Carlos Mendoza, Bob Meyers, Chris Minor, Tony Sanchez, Garrett Schoen, and Scott Staum.

DeJong cautions drivers to be careful on the roads — watch out for the farm field traffic.

“Let’s keep everyone safe,” said DeJong.

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