By Jean Caspers-Simmet

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa — Near-perfect harvest conditions last week kicked harvest into high gear.

"Things are going a lot better," said Sheila Fangman.

She was driving the grain cart as her husband, Gary, combined corn east of Independence.


Fangman said yields are running from 140 bushels to 200 bushels per acre.

Brian Lang, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist in Decorah, said many soybeans yielded in the 40s in far northeast Iowa. Some were in the 50s, and a few were in the 30s and the 60s.

He said corn moisture is in the mid-20 percent range, but wetter corn hasn’t been combined.

"Northeast Iowa had less rain than the rest of the state," Lang said. "Corn on light or sandy soils had a lot of stalk rot and more stress."

Charles Hurburgh, Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineering specialist, said farmers with soybeans left in the field should harvest them as quickly as possible and dry any beans over 15 percent moisture.

Hurburgh advised farmers to "run wide open and don’t lift." He recommends getting grain out of the field — then managing the moisture.

"There are corn test weight problems this fall," he said. "Low-test-weight grain doesn’t store well and it’s harder to dry. If producers have the choice, they should sort and sell corn by test weight; selling the lightest corn first, knowing that the heaviest will carry safely through spring."

Cool, wet weather is contributing to development of fusarium fungi, which can produce several harmful toxins. Hurburgh recommends harvesting problem fields (greater than 10 percent to 15 percent incidence of ear rot) as soon as possible.


Hurburgh says that producers have three options to buy some time if they are short of storage or dying capacity. The first option is to dry corn to intermediate moisture (17 percent or 18 percent), then put it in storage with air flow and cool it in the bin. The second option is to stop the drying process at 20 percent and cool it. It won’t be dry, but can be held if it is aerated and kept cold.

However, it will need to be dried come spring. Double-pass drying is the third option.

"Start by drying corn to 20 percent, then cool the grain, and turn around and immediately dry again," he said.

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