State climatologist Harry Hillaker says wet weather has left combines and tractors sitting idle this October for more days than farmers have seen in decades. Hillaker compared Monday’s crop report with the harvest reports from the past. Hillaker says the estimate showed only 12% of the corn crop had been harvested, and that was the slowest pace for the corn harvest all the way back to 1967. He says only 47% of the soybean crop had been harvested, and that’s the slowest bean harvest since 1985.
Hillaker says 1985 was the only year going back 50 years where this many soybeans remained in the field in the last weeks of Oct0ber. It’s been a long time since farmers were this far behind in the harvest with November on the horizon. Hillaker says when you put corn and beans together, there’s probably more unharvested acres in the state than we’ve seen in 50 years.
A new crop report will update the progress on Monday, but Hillaker says the rain kept much work from getting done. Hillaker says there might be a little bit of progress in far northwest Iowa, which had less rain this week. “Even there, there’s not going to be much that gets accomplished,” Hillaker says. He does say the positive news is the forecast calls for less rain in the coming week.
Hillaker says there were several years in the 1960’s were the corn harvest was delayed close to what it has been this year. But he says that was before the larger farms and bigger equipment used in today’s harvests. The number one factor in delaying the harvest has been rain.
Hillaker says there wasn’t much break from the rain this month, with a lot of places reporting 20 straight days of rain. He says that’s a “huge” number for the frequency of rain events. Hillaker says the final totals will show this has been one of the wettest Octobers in state history.