The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

October 3, 2013

Crops maturing slowly, but yields still good

OTTUMWA — A recent report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that 5 percent of the Iowa corn and soybean crops have been harvested as of Sept. 29, which is nearly two weeks behind the normal schedule.

Both corn and soybeans have shown slow maturation this year, as the report indicated just 61 percent of the corn had reached the proper maturity level, and it usually sits at 76 percent for this time of the year. Likewise, 88 percent of soybeans had turned their color, down from the regular 96 percent, and only 51 percent of the crop had dropped its leaves, which is a rate that is nine days behind the normal pace.

Even though the corn and soybean crops are appearing to mature at a much slower rate than usual this year, the yields for both crops are actually looking pretty decent so far, according to Mark Carlton, crop program specialist for the Iowa State University Extension in Monroe County.

“Compared to the last few years, we are doing better,” he said.

He noted that so far the range of yields for corn has been 150-200 bushels per acre, with even higher results coming from areas that have better soil, and soybeans have seen 40-50 bushels per acre.

Even though the USDA report stated there had been lower numbers of crops harvested so far this year, around this area both corn and soybeans have been relatively on schedule, according to Carlton. Now that there appears to be some rain popping up on the radar and the drought finally looks to be over, there should be some significant increases in the amount of crops harvested.

“We will make huge progress in the next few weeks, weather permitting,” Carlton said.

One of the only problems that he has seen so far is the amount of lodging the corn is showing. Lodging is when the corn breaks below the ear and can be the cause of a lot of harvest loss.

“Guys [farmers] are concerned about the corn that is tipping over,” Carlton said. “They need to get that combined as soon as possible.”

As long as the farmers keep their lodging corn under control, there should be no problem with the crop yields as the season comes into its final weeks.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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