HARVEST TIME: Farmers Check Out Fields Early
The latest drought map from the USDA and the National Weather Service shows a little more than 66 percent of the state is in extreme drought , that’s the same as last week.
Four counties in Northwest Iowa are still in the highest drought category.
While many farmers are getting into their fields about a month early, all have one thing on their minds.
“We knew that we just didn’t have the rain so you kind of come to grips okay this isn`t going to be a bumper crop,” says Ogden farmer Ben Hollingshead.
Iowa’s extreme drought conditions, had farmers worried including Hollingshead.
His family farms about 1,500 acres of corn and beans.
Just like this year’s unpredictable weather, the yields coming out of the field are just as varied.
“There`s spots where, where we did get some timely rains and the corn responded to it, it goes from field to field area to area, it`s all over the board,” says Hollingshead.
Hollingshead says they’re seeing around 60 percent of their normal yield, which isn’t great but better than they originally thought.
The family says on a good year they see anywhere from 170 to 190 bushels per acre, this year it’s around 90 to 120 bushels per acre.
Hollingshead says he credits technology for advancing hybrid seeds enough to withstand extreme condition like we saw this year.
“I was just surprised how well it held in, and I don’t think we could have done it without today’s hybrids, i just don’t think it would have happened, we just didn’t have enough rain,” says Hollingshead.
Hollingshead says it could have been a lot worse, and is thankful for crop insurance and continued advances that help protect farmer’s bottom line when the weather is unpredictable.
“We`ve come a long ways using less water using less fertilizer and still making more bushels, we`ve just gotten a lot more efficient in utilizing those resources,” says Hollingshead.
Farm Bureau reports farmers across the state are also seeing yields all over the board.
Ranging from zero to up to 270 bushels an acre depending on plant date, soil conditions, and the spotty weather.