A delayed harvest poses dangers for crops, according to a report in the Des Moines Register. Soybeans left in fields past maturity can pop open their pods, spilling beans on the ground. Moisture can cause diseases in the stalks of corn, causing them to buckle.
This fall's harvest is approximately three weeks behind schedule, according to the USDA Weekly Crop report.
"Late corn can be terribly difficult to harvest," says Roger Elmore, Iowa State University agronomist. That's why farmers grow restive when October is too wet. Al Hemerson, who farms near Gilmore City, was out of his fields for several days until Tuesday. He worried about his soybeans.
"The first of our beans that we took out three weeks ago were perfect, about 13 percent moisture, which is ideal," Hemerson said. "Now, the beans have gotten wetter and moisture content is up to 18 to 19 percent and the elevators won't take them."
"If I can get a couple of warm days with some sunshine, it will be all right," Hemerson said.
Farms in north-central and northeast Iowa have had difficulties with wetness. Curt Sindergard, who farms near Rolfe in Pocahontas County, said he was able to get into his fields Monday after a delay of almost a week. But he found the corn to be "greasy."
"The moisture level is 18 to 21 percent," Sindergard said. Processors generally want corn to have no more than 15 percent moisture.Sindergard said he worries more about stalk root caused by excessive moisture.
"People don't realize the toll this moisture is taking on the corn crop," he said. "The stalks weaken and bend over. If there is a strong wind you can lose the stalk entirely. When the corn is lodged it becomes so much more difficult to combine."
Dave Wessling of Vinton, who runs a farm management company in eastern Iowa, said Monday that the ground hadn't yet dried enough for farmers. "I saw one guy out Monday, but everybody else has had to stay out of the field," Wessling said.
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Source: Des Moines Register