2015 harvest producing hefty yields
FARM NEWS STAFF
Record, or near-record, corn and soybean yields are being recorded throughout the Farm News coverage area.
A spot check throughout the region shows other yields are short of historic levels, but seldom is their word this year of significant yield losses on farms north of Interstate 80 and west of Interstate 35.
Bushels per acre results showing from 200 to 240 in corn is typical; while soybeans are weighing-in from 60 to 70 bpa.
Many farmers in northwest Iowa are harvesting record soybean and corn yields, said Randy Dunn, vice president of grain marketing for First Cooperative Association in Cherokee.
“Beans have been in the 60- to 70-bushel range, with some yields even higher,” Dunn said. “We’ve seen a lot of corn above 200 bushels per acre, with many yields in the 220- to 250-bushel range.”
Dunn attributed some of the higher corn yields to fungicide use.
“We’ve seen consistently that growers who used fungicides are seeing up to a 30- to 40-bushel yield difference.”
While FCA has had to use some of its corn storage space to accommodate the large soybean crop, it has helped that the cooperative has invested in upgraded grain facilities in recent months.
A new dump pit and large grain leg at FCA’s Peterson location, for example, can handle 18,000 bushels of grain per hour.
FCA also added a 514,000-bushel bin this summer to provide more corn storage at Peterson.
By Oct. 16, Dunn estimated that 25 percent of the corn harvest was complete in FCA’s trade territory, along with 95 percent of the soybean harvest.
Test weights on corn were good at 57.5, while corn moisture levels were running around 16 percent.
The low humidity, high winds and warm, sunny days of early- to mid-October functioned like Mother Nature’s grain dryer.
“That’s quite a bit different than most years at this time, when corn moisture is usually 20 to 25 percent,” Dunn said. “It seems like we never get big bushels and dry corn, but it’s happening this fall.
“This is a bonanza for farmers, especially considering grain prices.”
South of FCA towards Calhoun County, yields were also strong, although wet growing conditions made an impact.
“South of town, where they got more moisture, soybean yields were in the mid-50s,” said Kent Highland, a customer service specialist at Farmers Cooperative in Yetter. “North and west of here, soybean yields tended to be in the mid 60s into the 70s.”
A similar situation existed with corn. Yields north of Yetter tended to push above 200 bushels per acre, while corn harvested south of Yetter tended to average under 200 bushels per acre.
By Oct. 16, Highland estimated that roughly 40 percent of the corn crop in the area had been harvested, along with nearly all the soybeans.
Corn was averaging around 17 percent moisture, although it ranged from 13.5 percent to 20 percent.
Test weights have been good, Highland added.
“We’ve seen some test weights of 60 right out of the field,” he said.
While the Yetter location’s storage facilities were completely empty at the start of harvest, since much of the corn had been shipped during the summer to ethanol plants from Arthur to Albert City, it was challenging at times to keep up with all the grain being delivered at harvest.
It helped that the crew loaded a 110-car soybean train early during the week of Oct. 12, Highland said.
The grain harvest in Northwest Iowa is near completion for both corn and soybeans, with yields coming in at or just above average, according to agronomists at two Northwest Iowa elevators.
Nolan Hauge, agronomy specialist at MaxYield Cooperative, in Fostoria, said the soybean harvest in his territory has wrapped up, with only “a load or two coming in” yet.
He said soybean yields have come in with numbers 10 to 15 percent above what they normally are.
“A lot of people had whole-farm yields in the 60s this year,” he said. “You heard a few places where a (producer) would have a whole field that did 70 bushels per acre, which was unbelievable.”
Hauge said beans dried down well in the field, with loads coming in at 10 percent moisture.
He said the corn harvest yielded results they were expecting.
“We had an unbelievable record year in corn,” he said. “In the Spencer area we were seeing a lot of 230 and 240 bushels per acre. You can’t even get to the end of the field without having to dump.”
He said corn has been coming in consistently dry from the field at 15 to 16 percent moisture, and test weights coming in at 57 and 58 pounds on average.
Hauge said 75 to 80 percent of his customer base is finished with the corn harvest, with a few of his clients having finished up around Oct. 21 and 22.
He said it isn’t the same scenario a few miles south of his area.
“When you got down by Storm Lake there’s a lot of corn in the fields,” Hauge said. “They got more rain in August.”
When we got 4 inches of rain over the course of five days, I think they got closer to 10 or 11 (inches).”
Adam Peterson, sales agronomist at Ag Partners, in Emmetsburg, said soybeans were “very good for our area,” coming in right at the 60- to 70-bushels-per-acre mark.
“Usually we’re hoping for 50 bushels per acre,” he said. “Our genetics might be playing a part in that.”
Peterson said soybeans came in at 11 percent moisture once they got going.
“There were a lot of green stems out there, which made them a little tougher to combine, but the beans were dry and ready.”
He estimated the soybean harvest as of Oct. 23 to be at or near completion.
The corn harvest coming into Ag Partners in Emmetsburg has been seeing 220 bushels per acre fairly steadily, according to Peterson.
“Looks like 200 to 230 bushels per acre catches the majority of the yields,” he said.
Peterson said corn was weighing up fairly well, and moisture content has been hovering around 14 percent steadily, right out of the field.
He said corn stalks were somewhat weak when harvest began, and that has progressed as dry conditions persisted and harvest continued.
“There is some downed corn here and there,” he said. “That could be attributed to some stalk diseases or stalks that cannibalized just trying to fill the ear with grain, and that led to weak stalks – especially with the size of crop we had.
“It had to take a lot out.”
Peterson estimated the harvest is 75 to 80 percent finished in his area, and that many producers finished during the third week of the month.
“It’s always nice to finish up in October,” he said. “It was a great fall overall.”
In Wright County, Cody Ostendorf, an agronomist for MaxYield’s location, in Belmond, said Monday harvest is 85 percent complete and tillage is about half done.
Yields were at record levels according to Ostendorf with corn running 200-210 bushels per acre with some at 230.
Soybeans ran in the 60s for yield with some reports of over 70 bushels per acre.
After some recent years of reduced yields, Ostendorf said area farmers were in need of a good year to raise their actual production history.
He said this year was nearly ideal with the only problems along the Iowa River where crops were burned after a prolonged dry spell.
Ostendorf said a significant amount of fertilizer has been applied with anhydrous ammonia coming soon.
2016 will see more corn-on-corn, he said.
“Most everybody is optimistic about next year,” said Ostendorf.
Staff writers Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, Karen Schwaller and Clayton Rye contributed to this report.
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