Planting plans change
As the rains keep on coming down, many local farmers have been holding back going into the fields.
"We are about a week behind from the normal schedule," said Randy Dunn, part of the grain marketing division of First Cooperative Association based in Cherokee. "There is a lot of mud in the field and the bean and corn crops still have too much moisture for harvesting just yet."
This year's weather has played a major factor in crop production. The rest of the corn belt had better seasons than the local area of Buena Vista, Clay and Sac Counties, where a summer drought was followed by soaking rains last week.
"The rain in August was great but know it's starting to become a major problem," Dunn said. "It seems that from Fort Dodge east they have been doing better then last year."
Local averages foreseen for the bean crop are about 50-52 bushels an acre and about 180 bushels an acre for the corn crop is expected for the more fortunate growers.
Dunn is opportunistic about the bean crop for this year but is not positive about the corn.
"With the rains, the bean crop maybe in the lower part of the average range but the corn will be down from last year," Dunn said. "Some farmers are a little leery of planting back to back crops of corn with how bad it has been the last couple years."
Dunn also added that the added demand of local ethanol plants will complicate what farmers may be willing to plant.
Kris Kole, of Iowa State University Extension, has a similar view.
"The interest has gone up and it will more in 2007 but I think it will peak in 2008," Kole said of corn for ethanol. "It will get real interesting in 07-08 when the crop comes in. As long as everyone is full no one cares about the extra bite at stake, but the moment there is not enough corn it will become interesting."
According to Kole, early estimates have about 120-160 bushels an acre, "I would say that is the low end of the average for the area," Kole said.
Barrel McAlexander, Iowa Corn Promotion Board director, is positive with this year's state crop.
"We did have a little bit of dry spell but the state as whole should do every well," McAlexander said. "We won't have the outstanding record sales that we had last year but it will still be good for the Iowa Farmer."
McAlexander admits that the growing interest in ethanol should have a positive impact for corn growers. According to him, last year 200 million bushels were sold for ethanol use and a fourth of this year's production could go toward that product.
"Many of the end users have been noting the demand of the ethanol and have been booking more in advance which will help keep the price of corn up giving more of the bottom dollar to the local grower," McAlexander explained. "The extra money will be good for communities because when the growers make money they will put it back in the local community."
ICPB is also promoting the ethanol industry as well to help the local farmer.
"We aim to help the local grower and we do that with creating the demand for corn," McAlexander said.
McAlexander doesn't worry about the cost going too much to the average consumer.
"The end user buys by the bushel and sells by the once, he is prepared and so the price won't drive up as quickly."
Some people may wonder if the corn crop will be solid enough to support local needs.
"There is plenty of crop for the livestock, bio-fuels, manufacturing and for a solid export," McAlexander claimed.
Kole also wants people to know that with the harvest season here that people need to watch out for the equipment on the road.
"We have more accidents this time of year with people hitting the equipment," Kole said. "People need to watch the roads from 6 to midnight."