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Rains Further Slow Corn, Soybean Harvest

Michael Leland/IPR
Cornfields near Dyersville in Dubuque County are among the many still awaiting harvest.

Monday’s weekly crop update from the USDA reports very little progress in harvesting Iowa’s corn and soybean crops as a result of the heavy and seemingly incessant rain. It says Iowa farmers had only one day suitable for work in the field this past week.  

Only 17 percent of the state’s corn acreage is harvested, and harvest is now four days behind average for mid-October. Sixty-nine percent of the Iowa’s corn crop is rated good to excellent. That’s down a bit from last week.

Some harvesting resumed during the weekend. But, most farmers are like Robert Lynch in Humboldt County, who is waiting to get harvesting equipment back into his corn and soybean fields near Fort Dodge.

“I think it will be later this week. It won’t be today or tomorrow. Maybe Wednesday afternoon,” he said.  “I think we’re waiting right now for the beans to dry up themselves. They’re so mushy and chewy from the freeze and the rain, and everything else. Everything will be ready once the beans are dry. Also, there’s probably going to be spots in the fields that we probably won’t harvest. We’ll just have to go around them. We can’t go through water.”

Only 19 percent of Iowa’s soybean crop is harvested. That’s the smallest percentage harvested by mid-October since record-keeping began. The USDA also says the soybean crop has deteriorated somewhat, with 65 percent in good to excellent condition.  That’s down five percentage points from last week. Lynch said he harvested 200 soybean acres and then stopped.

“We didn’t have anything really ripe,” he said. “When we finished up our first two-hundred acres, nothing else was really ripe. We still had green beans and things. Quality doesn’t seem to be an issue out here yet. Maybe a few pods starting to pop open here and there.”

Lynch also said he is concerned that weakened corn stalks may collapse if strong winds hit before harvesting combines get to them.