The 2013 harvest is going to be an up-and-down, stop-and-go harvest, farmers say.
Some fields have already disappeared -- harvest started two weeks ago for some -- and others are still weeks away from being ready to combine. Iowa Soybean Association staff called some of its members last week and those farmers reported soybean yields topping 70 bushels per acre in some cases, all the way down to the low 30s in other fields. Farmers say it's going to be that kind of fall.
"Harvest will be drawn out and yields will be extremely variable," said Grant Kimberley, ISA director of market development who farms in central Iowa with his father, Rick. "We have some beans ready to go and others won't be ready until the end of October."
Five percent of Iowa's soybean and corn acres were harvested as of Sunday September 29, according to the weekly USDA Crops & Weather report released September 30. Harvest is running two weeks behind normal for corn and 16 percentage points behind for soybeans, the report said.
Some farmers say their early harvested soybeans are better than expected
Mother Nature served up another challenging growing season in 2013. A record wet spring, which delayed or prevented planting for many farmers, was followed by a mid-summer drought that continued to worsen into fall. The result is a wide range of crop maturity and productivity levels around the state this year. Those farmers fortunate to receive timely rains in July and August, especially along the Highway 20 corridor from east to west across the state, are reporting excellent early yields. Other farmers are disappointed with yields. Soil quality and location made a big difference this year.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
ISA member Jeff Reints, farming near Shell Rock and Clarksville, started harvesting the last week of September. As of September 30, he had combined 300 acres of soybeans and 300 acres of corn. Soybeans on lighter ground averaged a little more than 40 bushels per acre, Reints says. Corn in sandy soil averaged 125 to 140 bushels per acre, while a better quality field averaged more than 200 bushels per acre.
"I was really pleased with that. For soybeans, I expect my better soil to do a lot better," adds Reints. "We were blessed with some timely rains in August. I was just far enough south that we got every acre planted and just far enough north to get some rain. I finally got lucky. I'm kind of at a standstill now," Reints said last week. "The rest of the corn is too wet at 31% moisture and beans planted at the end of May are 10 days away (from combining)."
Harvested beans are averaging 12% moisture, but corn coming out of the field is wetter than farmers would like to see
Harvested soybeans are averaging about 12% moisture, Iowa producers say, which is just right for storage purposes. Corn coming out of the field is mostly between 20% to 27% moisture. Test weights, for the most part, are good.
Early soybean yields on the Kimberley farm range from the mid-to-upper 30s per acre. Corn yields range from 130 to 180 bushels per acre. "There were still some green soybean stems out there so we didn't even finish one field. It was worse than last year, but not a complete disaster as I thought earlier," Grant Kimberley says.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
ISA member Lindsay Greiner of rural Keota combined 250 acres as of Monday, September 30. He's satisfied with yields so far given the less-than-ideal growing season. Soybeans yields on good-quality farmland averaged 48 bushels per acre, while lighter ground made 25 to 30 bushels per acre, Greiner says. Corn following soybeans on a "rough farm" averaged 120 bushels per acre. Continuous corn on land with a good corn suitability rating averaged 150 bushels per acre, but corn following soybeans in similar soil averaged 180 bushels per acre.
Corn is generally yielding a little better than expected for some Iowa farmers, but yields are all over the place
"Corn is a little better than expected … but yields are all over the place," Greiner says. "No one is really going to be tickled with beans, but that depends on what your expectations are. We've got a long ways to go."
Dean Coleman, farming near Humboldt in north-central Iowa, started harvesting corn on September 30. Twenty-five acres averaged about 160 bushels per acre. Steve Taylor, near Hartley in the northwest corner of the state, says 50 acres of soybeans averaged about 60 bushels per acre, close to his 10-year average. The yield monitor topped 70 bushels in some areas. Corn won't be ready for another 10 days, Taylor said late last week. "Right now I'm seeing 67 bushels per acre on the yield monitor as I'm driving, harvesting beans. I have some good varieties and decent soil, I guess," said Taylor. "After last year, I'm not going to complain."