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The lingering 2019 harvest continues

By Staff | Nov 6, 2019

-Farm News photo by Clayton Rye Harvest has been progressing in northern Iowa and in Worth County where this photo was taken. Most years, farmers will work late to finish harvest. This year working late is being done due to the delayed start from slow maturity and wet weather. Yields vary widely with a few places reporting normal or better yields, but in general, yields are below normal



In between rain and snow events, producers have been making quite a bit of progress the past few weeks with especially a lot of ground covered over the weekend.

As of press time, Cory Donahe, regional agronomy and location manager for Gold Eagle Cooperative said the soybean harvest in his area of northeast Humboldt County is getting close to done, whereas the corn harvest is just getting started.

Donahe predicted about 90 percent of the soybeans have been harvested and 20 percent of the corn has been taken out of the fields as of Tuesday.

As far as yields and moisture content of the crops in Donahe’s area, beans are yielding in the low- to mid-50 bushels to the acre, coming in at 13 percent moisture. As far as corn, he said it is just too early to tell how it is yielding, but moisture is hanging in there around 20 percent.

It appears the soybean crop is mimicking last year, but so far, the corn crop appears to be better, Donahe said than 2018.

Not only has the harvest been a struggle, but Donahe warns that producers need to be diligent with what they are storing on the farm.

“We advise producers with the wetter than normal crop to watch farm storage close for spoilage post-harvest this year,” he said. “Storing higher moisture commodities can be a real challenge.”

Mick Hoover, risk management team leader with MaxYield Cooperative at their West Bend location said there has also been great progress made with the bean harvest in his region, with 90 percent of the beans out and close to 35 percent of the corn has been harvested.

“Our central region around West Bend and Mallard has seen the most progress. The northwestern regions around Superior and Gruver saw more rain this spring and were also delayed getting started with harvest due to the slower maturity of the crops,” he said.

Hoover said there have been some surprises with the corn yields.

“Corn yields, for the most part have been better than expected,” he said. “We have heard several reports of 200-plus bushel per acre field averages. Much of our trade area experienced less than stellar yields last year, so it is really great to hear our clients are having good results.”

Hoover said there is little hope that corn could continue to naturally dry in the field. If it does, it will be a slow process – especially with the weather outlook showing below normal temperatures – that could put an end to the natural drying process all together.

“Prior to the rainy spell, corn moisture was dropping. The cooler temperatures the last couple weeks have slowed the natural drying, although it is still coming down a little,” he said.

Earlier, Hoover said there were many reports of extremely wet soybeans that some elevators ultimately had to turn away, but fortunately there has been a shift in the soybean moisture department.

“Many loads are still coming in above 13 percent, but we are seeing less of the extremely wet bushels,” he said, adding that test weights for both corn and soybeans have been normal, but that could change.

“Concerns of low test weight corn were circulating due to the delayed maturity but so far, we haven’t seen too many cases,” he said. “It is still possible that we could see issues as we’re mostly seeing the earliest planted fields which are likely going to be the best quality as well as the best yielding.

Hoover said the team at MaxYield Cooperative, due to the numerous unknowns surrounding the corn and soybean markets, are encouraging producers to take into account all payments and take a look at revenue per acre instead of price per bushel.

“If you can lock in decent returns, then do so,” he said. “Not everyone has the same risk tolerance and should market accordingly. If producers choose to retain ownership, incremental sales using offers have provided good results. Good carry in soybean futures looks to provide a good return on storage. The only way to capture the carry is to sell it though.”

Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report

For the week of Oct. 21-27

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig has commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report is released weekly from April through November.

“Farmers battled wet conditions last week but most of the state got a welcome reprieve on Thursday,” said Secretary Naig. “There were lots of combines rolling over the weekend.”

The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov.

Crop report

Harvest progressed across Iowa as farmers had 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 27, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Fieldwork activities included harvesting soybeans and corn for grain, spreading manure, applying anhydrous and baling corn stalks.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus.

Ninety-five percent of the corn crop has reached maturity, nearly 2 weeks behind average. Twenty-six percent of the crop has been harvested for grain, 8 days behind last year and 11 days behind average. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 21 percent. Corn condition rated 67 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-seven percent of the soybean crop has begun dropping leaves or beyond, 10 days behind average. Sixty-six percent of the crop has been harvested, equal to last year but 6 days behind average.

Most of the state’s pasture regrowth has gone dormant with cooler temperatures this past week. Pasture condition rated 48 percent good to excellent. Mud continues to be an issue in feedlots and some livestock have struggled with temperature fluctuations.

Weather summary

Provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

An active weather pattern brought above average rainfall to much of the state’s north-central corridor with near to slightly below average totals across the rest of Iowa. Unseasonable coolness persisted across the state with temperature departure up to six degrees below average. The statewide average temperature was 42.5 degrees, 6.9 degrees colder than expected.

A narrow band of showers and a few embedded thunderstorms streamed into Iowa ahead of a low pressure system through the evening hours on Sunday, Oct. 20th. The complex expanded and covered much of the state’s eastern half into the early morning hours on Monday, Oct. 21st. Another wave of showers formed across central Iowa and moved east as the low propagated to the northeast. Two-day rain totals were highest across central Iowa with Clive, in Polk County, reporting 2.17 inches of rain.

Over 100 stations reported totals at or above one inch with the statewide average at 0.73 inch. As the system moved into Wisconsin, additional showers formed on the backside of the low along with strong sustained winds out of the southwest, gradually shifting to a westerly direction. Wind speeds reached into the 20 to 30 mph range with higher five-second sustained wind gusts; Estherville Municipal Airport in Emmet County reported a gust of 60 mph.

The gusty winds gradually receded though the daytime hours on Tuesday, Oct. 22nd along with clearing skies. Highs reached into the low to mid 50s, up to 15 degrees cooler than average with the statewide high of 52 degrees, seven degrees below normal. Rain showers moved through Iowa during the morning and afternoon hours on Wednesday, Oct. 23rd as a low pressure system moved through the state’s southern half. Measurable totals were highest in northwestern Iowa with Storm Lake in Buena Vista County reporting 0.40 inch. Totals across the rest of Iowa were generally between 0.10 inch and 0.30 inch. Daytimes highs were also well below normal, ranging from the 40s north to lower 60s south.

Thursday, Oct. 24th and Friday the 25th were dry and unseasonably cold with partly to mostly sunny skies as a dome of high pressure dominated the Midwest. Thursday’s highs peaked in the mid to upper 40s with overnight lows in the upper 20s and lower 30s; daytime highs on Friday rebounded into the middle 50s with winds out of the south. The remnants of Tropical Storm Olga brought light rain showers into southeastern Iowa during the afternoon hours on Saturday.

Partly cloudy conditions were observed across the rest of the state. Rain totals ranged from 0.06 inch in Muscatine, in Muscatine County, to 0.34 inch at Le Claire Lock and Dam in Scott County. A weak cold front entered Iowa overnight into Sunday, Oct. 27th shifting winds and bringing cloud cover across western Iowa.

Statewide overnight lows averaged 29 degrees, seven degrees below normal.

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from 0.10 inch at Sigourney in Keokuk County to 2.25 inches in Clive.

The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.88 inch, while the normal is 0.56 inch.

The week’s high temperature of 68 degrees was reported on the 21st in Burlington, in Des Moines County, six degrees above average. Cresco, in Howard County reported the week’s low temperature of 20 degrees on the 26th, 12 degrees below normal.

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