Cool, Wet Fall Resulting In Challenging Harvest Conditions

Mon 10-1-2018

(Spencer)-- Harvest activity so far across the area is being described as sporadic. Paul Kassel, a Crops Specialist with the Iowa State University Extension Service in Clay county tells KUOO news the weather so far this fall has been less than ideal...Sluggish Harvest01 

"We had some unusual rainfall in September and then some unusual warm and humid weather in September and that's led to some obvious problems with water standing and water moving through fields, that kind of thing, but there's some legitimate stalk quality problems because of that, high winds, rainy weather, humid weather, has kind of caused some of the fungi that normally we want to break down corn stalks, they're starting a little bit earlier and causing stalk lodging, corn being blown down kind of thing, so that's kind of a struggle, and then the soybean harvest, too, normally we'd be well into that this time of year, but that's been real slow, too because of the recent cool, cloudy kind of damp weather, too, hasn't been helping matters either."

Kassel says the issue with stalk quality has resulted in some farmers opting to harvest corn before beans...Sluggish Harvest02 

"So yeah, people have been turning to the corn and of course there's been some corn that's been excellent for grain moisture, some in the 16, 17 percent which is excellent, but some in the mid 20's, so some of that corn is not standing very well so it gets to be a real tough decision for a farmer if you pay that extra drying cost, or do you take the risk that it will dry out later and we'll get some better harvest weather, we really don't know. So it makes for some real hard decisions for farmers. To dry one point of moisture from a 200 bushel per acre yield, or a field that produces 200 bushel per acre is about $7 per acre per point, so, you know, we kind of have to juggle that against what kind of losses you might have and we really don't have a good way to evaluate that, but that's the kind of thing that has to go through your mind if you're going to spend another $20 or $30 for drying, can you save that much grain from being lost, and that's kind of the decision that needs to be made."

Kassel adds yield reports he's been hearing so far for both corn and beans have been highly variable.