Iowa Field Reports: Harvest Off to Slow Start

Harvest is off to a slow start across the state. High moisture grain, crop maturity, and ear rots and stalk rots are some of the topics ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists have been focusing on. Read on for more about what’s happening in specific regions of the state.

Northwest Iowa

Paul Kassel (Region 2): “Soybean harvest has begun with some getting started the last few days of September. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be short lived as there is rain, wind, and even some snow predicted for later in the week for this part of the state. The late April and early May planted corn reached black layer in mid-September.

“Some of that corn has now reached 20% grain moisture. The early June planted corn is still at the ¾ milk line stage of development, and it is expected to reach black layer by this weekend. That corn is about 35% moisture currently. The concern with the June planted corn is the field dry down and drying costs.

“The odds of receiving good field dry down weather in late October are not good. The drying costs of 200 bushel per acre of corn is about $7.50 per acre per point. Therefore, if the June planted corn does not field dry below 25%, drying costs could be around $75.00 per acre. The good news is that the June planted corn looks good and is expected to produce a good yield. Time will tell just how good that yield might be.”

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “Harvest began late in the week of September 16 along the Highway 20 corridor and has progressed very little with all the rain that fell the past two weeks. Estimates of 2-5% of the beans are harvested in some areas with yields averaging around 60 bushels per acre.

“Corn harvest is very localized with minimal acres harvested so far. Most folks are hoping to return or start harvest about mid-week depending on soil conditions and the forecast.”

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): “Fall harvest has begun in NE Iowa, but with a slow start due to excessive rainfall in the last week. The Northeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm near Nashua received 2.6 inches of rain from September 30 through October 6 with a total of 6.4 inches since September 1 based on data from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet.

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“According to the October 7 USDA-NASS Crop Progress Report, 97% of the soybeans in NE Iowa have turned color, with 81% of the crop dropping leaves, and only 4% of the acres have been harvested so far. Corn silage harvest has pretty much wrapped up here in my area. Early planted corn has reached black layer, but the later planted corn remains in the late dent stage yet.

“According to USDA-NASS, only 55% of the corn in NE IA has reached maturity, or black layer. Because of a favorable environment, growers are encouraged to scout their corn fields to assess them for ear and stalk rots.”

Southwest and West Central

Aaron Saeugling (Region 6): “Very little harvest activity has occurred here in SW Iowa. Some silage and high moisture corn have been harvested along with a few early soybeans. I expect some corn to be harvested prior to the rain on Thursday. I did see one combine in soybeans on Monday.”

East Central, Southeast, and South Central:

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Harvest is slowly gearing up here in EC Iowa. As farmers hit the fields, continue to keep an eye out for corn ear rots and stalk rots. I’ve seen a fair amount of ear rots, particularly on ears with insect damage. If you see more than 10% of a field with ear rots or stalk rots, prioritize that field for harvesting.

“Additionally, with the higher moisture grain coming out of the field, check out this resource discussing harvesting and storage considerations and this one on grain drying considerations.”

Josh Michel (Region 11): “Over the last 2 weeks there have been heavy rainfall amounts. Prior to the rain though, some corn and soybeans did get harvested. So far yield reports have been mixed, with many farmers reporting high moistures and lower test weights. A great deal of corn silage has been made, but some fields are still waiting to be chopped.

“Check corn fields for corn ear rots and molds as they seem to be prevalent this year. Common field calls recently have included: corn ear and stalk concerns, fall cover crop seeding, and winter annual weed identification.”


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