DES MOINES — The latest USDA crop report out Monday showed there were less than two days suitable for fieldwork last week — which didn’t help farmers catch up on the harvest. The report says three percent of corn has been harvested — which is two weeks behind average. Five percent of soybeans have been harvested, and that’s 12 days behind average.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Crops Specialist for northwest Iowa Joel DeJong says those farmers that were able to plant early have seen some good things. “Some of the early reports from the soybean harvest actually were fairly decent yields– so I have hope that maybe that will continue moving forward,” DeJong says.  “But, we are starting about three weeks later than normal. It would be nice to get rain out of our forecast for a little while and get some sunshine and maybe a little breeze so we can get them dry so we can get that work done.” 

He says not everything is negative. “The crop itself is actually hanging in there pretty well. They soybeans are pretty mature, so we are just waiting for them to dry. A lot of the corn that’s planted before the first of June has actually reached maturity or is close to  maturity now,” De Jong says.

He says getting the crop to maturity is only part of the issue. “The problem we still have is that when the corn crop just hits maturity it is still 32 to 32 plus percent moisture.  We need some dry down time and we don’t that get much dry down time once we get past the month of October,” he says. “We would like to see the month of October be above normal if we get any chance for that to occur.”

De Jong says there have been some diseases that have hit too.  He says there has been a lot of white mold that has shown up late and that could make the yield zero in parts of fields..  DeJong says there’s been appraisals of 40 to 70 bushels and acre. The corn has also had some issue and he says there have been appraisals of 108 bushels per acre and then there’s been appraisals up into 200.

De Jong says the conditions vary widely across the nine counties he covers. He says a late frost would help with a lot of the issues.  DeJong says the normal frost date for this region is October 10th.  He says much of the area’s corn still needs additional time to mature and a light frost may not hurt the crop, but for late planted corn, an early frost could negatively affect crop yields.

DeJong says it is very likely many farmers will need to resort to using artificial drying methods in order to store their corn, which only adds to the cost of the crop.