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Fall harvest

Area farmers near the end of the 2013 fall harvest

Published: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 10:19 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 10:55 a.m. CDT
Gary West of Prescott combines in a field of soybeans south of Cromwell Wednesday afternoon. West and his sons Travis and Michael have about 100 acres of soybeans left to harvest.

While light is coming into view at the end of the tunnel, area farmers pushing to bring in the last of the 2013 harvest are hoping the weather stays cooperative.

Gavilon Grain Manager Dean Michaelson estimated 80 percent of the corn and 90 to 95 percent of the soybean crops in the area have been harvested.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture estimates 88 percent of the corn and 98 percent of the soybeans have been harvested statewide.

“Some are in a decent rush, especially to get the last of the beans in,” Michaelson said.

Soggy spring conditions forced some farmers into the field later than normal, pushing the soybean harvest about three days to a week behind last year, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Michael West, who farms with his father Gary and brother Travis in Adams County, said they still have about 100 acres of beans and 600 acres of corn to harvest because of the late start.

“We caught enough rain early to keep us from planting when we wanted to,” West said. “It was getting late enough in the season, we had to mud some of the beans in.”

Moisture levels

Michaelson said most of the crop coming in has been close to ideal moisture levels, helping out area farmers.

Soybeans have been coming in around 10 to 11 percent, below the 13 percent maximum before farmers get docked for too much moisture.

“Some of the beans have been a bit of a struggle because it has been very wet,” Michaelson said.

For soybeans coming in above the 13 percent moisture level, a formula is used to knock the bushel weight down. See sidebar for how the formula works.

The same goes for corn, which Michaelson said has been higher than the 15 percent allowance for moisture.

“Corn has been around 17 to 18 percent,” Michaelson said. “It hasn’t really dried down and we haven’t had enough heat units per day to help bring it down.”

He added it doesn’t take much to dry the corn down to 15 percent if farmers are wanting to store it before selling.

Weather weary

West and his family hope to be done with soybeans this weekend so they can get a jump on corn as soon as possible.

“If everything goes smooth, we hope to be done early in December,” West said.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said the 12 percent of corn left in the field accounts for an estimated $1 billion worth of grain for Iowa.

The forecast has a chance for rain starting late Friday night and increasing to a 70 percent chance of precipitation through Saturday. Temperatures climb to the upper 50s through Sunday before dropping back into the 30s on Monday.

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