I-80 Harvest: Western Iowa Farmers Battle Saturated Fields

October 5, 2015 05:00 AM

We continue our I-80 Harvest tour, going next to western Iowa, where rain is hindering progress.

According to USDA’s Crop Progress report, only 2.5 days were considered suitable to be in the field in southwestern Iowa last week.

For northwest Iowa, that number was just a touch over three. The rains started in western Iowa a year ago, and it’s rained consistently since then.

Now too much of a good thing is putting harvest on pause. Don’t let this wind deceive you. Just like in spring, western Iowa is in need of a dry-down.

“It’s not the kind of wind that blows the corn down, but it certainly aids in the drying,” said Julius Schaff, a farmer in Randolph, Iowa.

That wind helped him until two weeks ago, when 8 inches of rain came down late September. That added extra moisture to his already saturated fields.

“The rains keep coming here. They have since last fall. We’re still getting rains. We’re hoping it will dry up a little bit for harvest this fall,” said Schaaf.

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Those planting delays have turned into a delayed harvest as well. Schaaf has yet to get in the field.

But he believes his good ground will carry the crop that’s soaked. “When we average the crop all together off all the land we farm, we’ll probably have an APH yield. But it will be close to insurance guarantees," he said. "Friends of mine I’ve talked with all over Iowa say they are very pleased with the corn crop this year,with the exception of south-central Iowa."

For soybeans, Schaaf says sudden death syndrome is emerging in the area. He feels the beans are far enough along, though, that it shouldn’t set yield back too much. “I think it will diminish yield a little it. but not significantly,” said Schaaf. 

“I had a guy here in this morning looking at some hogs, and I just said I want to be out on the combine,” said Raasch, who farms in Odebolt, Iowa.

He hasn’t seen as much moisture as Schaaf, but he too, is experiencing a rainy growing season and harvest. A fresh three inches of rain has hit the ground again.

“It’s going to make for another interesting harvest with mud and late maturity crops,” said Raasch. Which is washing away hopes for a consistent crop.

“From the road, things look good. But I think it’s going to be variable," he said. "I’m going to say 8% to 10% of our acres are maybe going to be zero on the yield monitor because of drowned outs and things."

While Raasch believes some areas are doing well, he thinks other spots will fall short. “I don’t think it will be record crop by any means, but I think it will be respectable--maybe 180 bu. in corn and 50 bu. to 55 bu. per acre on beans," he said. 

Besides white mold popping up in some patches of soybeans, Raasch says early varieties look better than the late maturing beans. Raasch says the corn crop is drying slowly, moisture content ranges from 25% to 30%. 

How is your harvest looking? See how yields are shaping up on AgWeb's harvest maps and send your photos and observations to AgWeb's Crop Comments. 

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Spell Check

Western, NE
10/5/2015 09:37 AM

  Who would have thought...wet spring, summer and fall along with flash droughts in other areas. That coupled with a lot of diseases floating around..tough year!


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