I-80 Harvest: Moisture Causing Soybean Harvest Issues in Western Iowa

October 26, 2016 12:43 PM

The Western Corn Belt is running behind schedule with harvest this year, and so is Iowa. Both corn and soybean harvest within the state are nine points behind the 5-year-average.

“We had heavy fog, heavy dew, heavy moisture yesterday and about 100 percent humidity this morning,” said Jacob Lammert, a Treynor, Iowa farmer. “Even though it’s 80 degrees, the beans were running at 18.5 percent moisture this morning.”

A late start in the soybean field is becoming all too routine for western Iowa farmers. Calendar wise, it’s getting late, but the crop isn’t dry.

“Soybeans have been the struggle this year,” said Lammert. “There are a lot of beans out there yet. A lot of guys are further along on corn than beans.”

Late nights and weather holdups aren’t new this season. Lammert replanted earlier in the season. After a bone-dry June, the area received abundant precipitation in July and August.

“There are a lot of 70 bushel beans around here,” said Lammert. “Some corn is doing 230 to 250 bushels per acre. Some yields are higher than that.”

According to USDA’s October Crop Production report, the Iowa corn yield is forecast at 198 bushels per acre, meaning 58 bushels per acre for soybeans. Lammert said some drowned fields are pulling averages down. Overall, it’s still a good crop.

“In the hills where you don’t have flooded issues, I’m sure it’s the beat bean crop we’ll ever have around here,” said Lammert. “Corn crop probably is too.”

Moisture is high in Underwood, Iowa for farmer Eric Hough. The drier is in high gear.
“Mother Nature has dealt us a bit of a handful,” said Hough. “It’s been a little bit wetter for this harvest than maybe we’re accustomed to seeing.”

This year is a bit different for Hough because he isn’t cutting a single soybean. He made the decision to put all of his acres into corn.

“Marketwise, when we made the decision, we were staring at $8.75 soybeans,” said Hough.  “Obviously, we’ve had quite a bit of improvement since then.”

It’s a decision he may not make next year. 

“I try to not look back on it too much,” said Hough. “You made the decision and you have to stick with it. I could tell you that we’ve had talks on our operation that there will probably be some soybeans next year.”

Although yields in his area seem to be trend line or above this season, Hough said 2015 brought great yields, making up for hail damage in 2014.

“No one is saying it's bad,” said Hough. “It's just not the bin buster we had last year."

Despite yields, farmers are working to get the crop out of the ground with the hope winter doesn’t come early.

“We’ll have to run until I can’t get the beans out of the pod anymore,” said Lammert. 

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