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Harvest progresses, despite weather delays

By Staff | Nov 13, 2008

Farm News staff writerIowa’s corn harvest progressed well in early November until wet weather brought field work to a halt across the state. According to a Nov. 10 report from the Iowa field office of the National Agricultural Statistical Service, Iowa’s corn harvest advanced to 62 percent complete, 12 days behind last year’s pace and two weeks behind the five-year average. According to NASS, the moisture content of corn in the field was estimated at 21 percent, compared to 22 percent the previous week. Harvested corn was averaging 18 percent moisture, compared with 19 percent the previous week. Similar numbers were reported around the Farm News coverage area, including: Arcadia, FAC Cooperative. The local corn harvest is 65 to 70 percent complete and yields of 200+ bushels are common, said Nate Fara, marketer. Test weights have varied, although many have been average. Moisture levels of 18 to 20 percent have been typical.“The moisture levels are creating challenges for drying the corn, and the weather hasn’t helped,” said Fara, who noted that the co-op has adequate storage space. The weather has also delayed anhydrous applications, although Fara speculates that fewer nutrients may be applied this fall, due to the high input prices.“Right now, there are a lot of antsy farmers wanting to get done. If the weather would shape up, you could get a lot done with three to four days of hard running.”Boone, West Central Cooperative. While the corn harvest is 70 percent complete in the Boone area, yields have ranged from excellent to unacceptable, said Ron Soendker, regional manager. While some fields produced 220 to 230 bushels per acre, the results were disappointing in fields where ponds covered 7 to 10 percent of the acres.Test weights have been 1 to 1.5 points below normal, ranging from 56.5 to 57. Moisture levels have hovered around 20 to 22 percent, although some have soared as high as 26 percent recently.“That just adds to our pain,” said Soendker, who noted that custom-applied anhydrous work was underway as late as Nov. 10 until wet weather took its toll. Despite the challenges, farmers haven’t gotten discouraged.“We’ve really appreciated our customers’ good sense of humor this fall,” Soendker said. Cherokee, First Cooperative Association. The corn harvest is about 80 percent done, said Jim Carlson, general manager. Yields of 200-plus bushels per acre are common and test weights have been good.“The moisture levels keep coming in lower each week,” added Carlson, who noted that levels have ranged from 16 to 19 percent recently. While the co-op got a good start on fall anhydrous applications, weather delays slowed the work by the second week in November. “We’re about 20 percent done, but have a long way to go,” said Carlson, who noted that dry fertilizer can be applied on frozen ground. “If we could get some sunshine and wind, the fields will dry out and we can get going again.” Lytton, Farmers Cooperative. The corn harvest is 75 percent complete in the area, said Sara Carlson. Typical yields have ranged from 175 to 200 bushels per acre, and test weights have been good. Moisture levels have averaged around 20 percent, said Carlson, who noted that the co-op has a corn pile at the elevator.While fall anhydrous applications just got started recently, wet weather conditions have put them on hold. Sioux Center, Farmers Co-op Society. The corn harvest is 90 percent complete in Sioux County, although it’s closer to 80 percent in the counties of O’Brien, Osceola and Lyon.“Yields have been phenomenal,” said John Hansen, grain manager, who noted that producers in the Farmers Co-op Society trade territory were able to plant the crop on time and received timely rains during the growing season. “Many farmers, including those who have been in business for 35 or 40 years, said this is the best crop they’ve ever raised,” Hansen said.On the good ground, yields of 240 bushels per acre were widely reported, with some areas reaching 270 bushels or higher. On the poorer ground, where yields typically range from 140 to 150 bushels, it wasn’t uncommon to see yields ranging from 190 to 200 bushels per acre this fall.Test weights have been good, added Hansen, who noted that it was common to see 19 to 20 percent moisture levels and 60 pound test weights. “The corn is at least 2 to 2.5 percent wetter than a year ago,” said Hansen, who added that grain storage is not a big issue in the area. West Bend, MaxYield Cooperative. The corn harvest is about 78 percent complete, said Harry Bormann, MaxYield’s grain team leader. While yields have soared as high as 220 bushels per acre, the area average has ranged from 165 to 170, down from last year’s average of 180 bushels per acre.“Yields have tended to be lower on the east edge of our trade territory, since many areas there were drowned out,” Bormann said. Test weights have been 1 to 2 pounds lower than the 2007 harvest, with test weights of 54 to 56 in 2008 versus 56 to 57 last year. Corn moisture levels also vary by location.“Highway 15 is our dividing line,” said Bormann, who noted that the co-op has plenty of storage space available. “On the western side of our trade territory, levels of 16 to 18 percent are common, while 17 to 19 percent is more typical on the eastern side.”Fall anhydrous applications haven’t suffered serious weather-related delays, and MaxYield’s custom machines have been running around the clock, in some cases. Finishing the fall field work without incident now becomes the challenge, Bormann said. “Whenever you get towards the end of harvest, it’s important to remind everyone to stay safe.”Contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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