BOONE COUNTY, Iowa -- Harvest has begun across Iowa, though about two weeks behind schedule.
Dave Pepper was operating his combine on his farm southwest of Story City.
“We’re starting a couple of weeks late somewhat due to wet weather, somewhat due to wet corn. The corn is just maturing slow this year,” said Pepper.
The United States Department of Agriculture's weekly crop survey also noted the slow harvest this week.
“Five percent harvested on soybeans and three percent harvested on corn this week, the USDA report showed us,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “That’s about two weeks behind where we would normally be this time of year.”
Pepper said this is the latest he’s ever begun a harvest.
“We had a wet early spring and we had a window of opportunity in the second half of April through this neighborhood,” said Pepper. “We capitalized on it and did not have near the trouble most people had this spring.”
Naig said the late planting meant things were behind all year.
“The growing season two to three weeks behind average has progressed through the growing season with maturity lagging behind,” said Naig. “Now as we get into harvest, we once again find ourselves about two to three weeks behind.”
Monday and Tuesday both had sunshine and Tuesday had strong breeze, which also helped to dry the corn and the ground.
“We need several consecutive days of dry conditions and seasonal temperatures to give farmers time to make significant progress in their fields,” said Naig.
Dealing with mud and wet is nothing new to Pepper. Last year he had to spring for a new set of wide flotation tires to keep the combine from getting stuck in the mud. It's a problem he had several times last harvest.
With all the uncertainty over the weather and markets, Pepper takes it all in stride.
"You just got a roll with the punches and adjust your plan,” said Pepper. “Nobody forces any of us to do this, and I am very happy with what I chose to do."
Pepper noted that snow is forecast for the weekend up north.
“Every year is different. Right here through central Iowa, we’ve been richly blessed,” said Pepper. “It’s been a challenge, but we have no complaints through here. It’s going to snow up in Minnesota and they haven’t started harvest. We’ve been blessed.”