I-80 Harvest Tour: Farmers Fight Rain Drops In Eastern Iowa

October 5, 2016 10:34 AM

Eastern Iowa is well into harvest but some pockets are waiting for fields to dry and high water to go down after torrential rains hit the upper Midwest two weeks ago. Some areas in Northeast Iowa received over 13 inches of rain.

We traveled to the area just before farmers started to battle the heavy rain. Luckily, the farmers we visited did not receive the massive amount of rainfall.

The assembly line is ready to roll. It’s a race against the clouds.

“We’ve had rain every three or four days,” says Coggon, Iowa farmer, Mitch Zumbach.

It’s a rush to capture a basis opportunity.

“They need beans. We’ve been in a hurry up mode the past week trying to get beans there by this Friday. Their basis is very positive,” says Zumbach.

Since then, basis has dropped and the raindrops have fallen.

Yet it hasn’t been this bad for Coggon, Iowa farmer, Mitch Zumbach. Zumbach says there was plentiful moisture this summer and warmer than normal nighttime temperatures. But he’s expecting a potential record in his area, especially when it comes to soybeans. He’s not surprised to hear of 50 or even 80 bushel per acre beans.

“So far, the bean crop looks outstanding. The corn crop, I have some customers starting on corn. It’s probably not as high as they thought. But they’re well satisfied,” says Zumbach.

While Mother Nature may control the yield, Zumbach says he has his crew to thank as well.

“I have great employees. I couldn’t ask for better ones. We have probably three or four part time guys who come back every once in a while in the fall. I think to just have fun,” says Zumbach.

Cedar Falls, Iowa farmer Brent Judisch, is busy in the fields with his own crew.

“My wife is our main combine operator. I’m just a fill-in. We keep up pretty well if there are two carts. One is always dumping and done is always unloading,” says Cedar Falls, Iowa farmer, Brent Judisch.

A pattern working well for him, even if Mother Nature isn’t.

“I think we need to get back to a drier pattern. We’re hoping we can string seven, eight days in a row without rain versus four or five days,” says Judisch.

Judisch says rain earlier in the growing season made a difference this year. He says lighter soils are producing better. That’s due to 10 inches of rain in June and timely rains for most of July and August.

“So the ground that’s struggling a bit with moisture will be excellent and the ground that normally does better in a dry year will be average,” says Judisch.

Judisch says the soybean crop looks exceptional, but he doesn’t know if both crops together are a record.

“I’ve only been in about five corn fields, but I would say we do not quite have a record crop. It’s going to be a good crop, probably a top five crop. I think that’s due to the excess rain in June and warm nights in July. I don’t quite see it as a record,” says Judisch.

Both farmers may be fighting raindrops this harvest but like every year, they’re t hankful for their crop and crew.

Judsich says he received four inches of rain that week. Zumbach had three inches in the rain gauge as well. 

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Spell Check

Nebraska City, NE
10/6/2016 11:06 AM

  geo, your not real knowledgeable about any of this are you.

nashville, MI
10/6/2016 06:51 AM

  with all these "near record, if not record yields" who needs crop ins. anyway?


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