Surprising yield may see best bean crop ever, second best corn harvest
Area farmers are bringing in near-record harvests of corn and soybeans to grain elevators across Buena Vista County this fall, a bumper crop that Iowa State University Extension officials and coop employees say is both greater than expected and higher than yields in other parts of the country.
Employees of the Newell Co-op, Ag Partners in Albert City and First Coop in Laurens each reported average yields of 160 to 180 bushels per acre (bpa) for corn, while soybean yields are ranging anywhere from 30 bpa to 60-65 bpa. The harvests are impressive enough that ISU Extension officials Tom Olsen and Chris Kohl said the soybean yields will wind up being the best ever and the corn yields will fall second only to 1992, when farmers averaged near 180 bpa.
"The yields are significantly larger than what we expected," Olsen, a farm management field specialist, said. "It's been very encouraging to see the yields come in to the coops around the area."
"For this area it's pretty close to a record crop if not a record," Bob Rohlfsen of the Newell Co-op said. "The yields have been pretty good, and they're probably better than what most people expected. There are some that are higher and lower but the 160 to 180 range would cover most of it."
Olsen said prices for northwest Iowa farmers will be steady due to the below-average yields which are emerging from other areas of the nation. Prices as of yesterday were $2.17 to $2.29 in northwest Iowa for U.S. 2 Yellow Corn and $5.37 to $5.47 for U.S. 1 Yellow Soybeans, amounts significantly higher than two years ago, when corn prices hovered in the $1.75 range and soybeans were around $4.40.
"If there were yields like this across the country we'd be down in the lows that we've had over the past couple of years," Olsen said. "But, the yields aren't nearly as high in the western Great Plains and even southwest Iowa, and the national yields are going to be lower too because of the weather in different places and other factors.
"We have above average yields and the prices won't reflect it," Olson continued. "Our profit is going to be determined by someone else's loss. It just happens that we are going to be in the right place at the right time for prices."
The high corn and soybean outputs are being attributed to timely rains in July and August, bringing revitalizing water to crops that had been in poor shape for most of the early part of the summer.
"The weather was somewhat borderline in terms of the total moisture, but the crops were able to get the moisture at the right time," Fran Marron of the Albert City Ag Partners said. "Another week or 10 days without rain there in July and we probably wouldn't be talking about the size of crop we have now."
"We were thinking that it was about 11:30 p.m. for the crops twice this year, because if there would have been one or two more days without rain it would have been midnight and the crops would have started to die," Olsen said. "The rains came at the right time two times for us, and it really just bailed us out."
Olsen said all area crops should be harvested by the end of the week barring inclement weather. The corn harvest is estimated at 85 percent complete, while virtually all of the soybean crop has been collected from the fields.