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October 9, 2013

Good harvest still expected

Yields from local corn and soybean fields may turn out to be better than expected, despite a July-August drought.

Tracy Gathman, General Manager of Two Rivers Co-op, said it is still early in the harvest season, but what he has seen thus far has produced mixed results.

“I think when we get all said and done, it’s going to be a pretty decent crop,” Gathman said. Even though rainfall was limited, the moderate temperatures throughout the summer has helped. When intense heat hit local crops in late August and early September, the crops had already passed the portion of the growing season in which the heat could have caused damage. Some crops may be better than others, but it is dependent upon when they were planted.

Corwin Fee said his fields have been really dry, but his crops are doing better than he expected. He believes his fields will yield 130-150 bushels an acre. In the year we’ve had, he said that is not bad. The moisture on his corn is reasonable. His beans are dry, but the stems are wet and difficult to combine.

“We were probably one of the driest locations in the state,” Fee said.

With the drought, crops planted before May, when Marion County experienced an unusual snowstorm early in the month, may have been affected. Heavy rainfall in the county on Oct. 4 was expected to delay the harvest for a few days.

Prices farmers will see for their harvests were uncertain at the time of the interviews. The partial government shutdown means that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) might not produce a report for October. This report includes information on how crops in the southern hemisphere fared, which will have an effect on demand and price for Iowa corn and beans. Gathman said corn was at 4-4.25 and beans were at 12.25-12.50. A weather event elsewhere in the world could affect overseas’ harvests and raise prices, but until the USDA produces a report, to give the industry an indication of what will happen, prices will remain flat.

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