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Rain Stymies Fall Harvest

Dean Borg/IPR
Muddy fields, like this one in Linn County, are making harvest difficult for a lot of Iowa farmers this week.

Eighty-five percent of Iowa’s corn harvest remains in the field. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly update says, despite recent heavy rains, the corn harvest is ten days ahead of last year’s pace at this stage of the season.

However, soybean harvest, only 18 percent complete, lags five days behind last year.

Persistent heavy rain is keeping harvest equipment out of the fields.

In eastern Iowa, Randy Toenjes, farming near Monticello, estimates it’ll be a week before muddy fields are sufficiently dried to support heavy combines and grain trucks.

“I’m pretty neutral on being concerned,” said Toenjes. “We’ve had wet falls before, but probably not to the extent of this one.

“I’m a little bit concerned about stalk quality,” Toenjes said, explaining that brittle corn stalks could topple, resulting in crop losses.

Agronomists are also warning that that the wet corn ears are susceptible to mold, and continuing moisture on soybean pods deteriorates their market quality.