Sustainability

2020 Ground Work: Harvesting Below-Average Yields in Iowa

We started harvest in mid-September, as planned. If the weather cooperates, we will be harvesting our crops through the end of October. As expected, the very dry summer in our region of Iowa in the heart of the U.S. Midwest, did hurt our yields.

All our soybeans are mature and ready to harvest. The first field of soybeans we cut yielded better than we expected, but it was still below our average from recent years. The soybeans look great, and quality is good, though the test weight is a bit low. The plants have lots of pods, but the beans are small. The moisture level was 12.6% – almost perfect. And the weather has cooled enough that we expect the rest of our soybean fields to be an ideal moisture level when we cut them.

Corn yields have been well below average for this region of Iowa. The drought conditions definitely reduced yields. While some ground has ok yields, other areas are really low. We started harvesting the corn when the moisture levels were at about 26%, but we were drying the corn in very warm weather, which helped it dry more quickly. And now the corn moisture is in the 19 to 21% range, which works well for combining and is easier to dry to the ideal level for long-term storage.

The corn that was blown over earlier in the summer takes nearly twice as long to harvest as corn that is standing well, because the combine must drive much more slowly through the fields. The reels we bought to help harvest these fields have been very helpful.

Throughout harvest, I drive either a tractor and grain cart to haul the crop from the combine to the edge of the field or a truck to haul the crop from the field to storage or the local elevator. My son Keaton drives the combine most of the time, and my other sons help out as needed or they have time. My 83-year-old dad also helps out when we need him, especially when we move all our equipment from one field to another and need to be shuttled back and forth between those fields.

We continue to care for our pigs, and they are being accepted at our packing plant at a normal pace. We’ve sending 10 or 12 semis of pigs to market a week recently. And in a few weeks we will get young pigs in those sheds again to continue our pork production cycle.

We welcomed a new granddaughter, my son Keaton’s third child, to the family on Sept. 19. She is definitely a bright spot this fall.

Though I am enjoying harvest as always, less fun with below-average yields.

Lindsay Greiner
Lindsay Greiner

U.S. Soybean Farmer

Iowa

Lindsay Greiner is an Iowa soybean farmer and a director for the United Soybean Board (USB).