Iowa farmers are watching their crops, and the weather,  as an usually early corn harvest is getting underway. Steve Weets farms about 1,100 acres near Mechanicsville in eastern Iowa, but he’s still about a week away from harvesting as more work needs to be done on his grain handling system.

“I’d like to be picking corn now because I feel some of the corn is not going to stand, it’s going to drop some ears,” Weets says. “The stalk has gutted itself to make an ear and the stalks are starting to get rotten.” Weets says his area has gotten more rain than some parts of Iowa.

He predicts a corn harvest of 150 to 160 bushels per acre. He says his soybeans have fared a bit better. Weets says there’s an urgency to the harvest as plants that are stressed by the drought are more likely to rot or be damaged by wind.

“They can’t get any moisture from the ground or nutrients so the stalk will cannibalize itself to finish out an ear,” he says. “There’s not too much stalk there and you could take and push it over pretty easily. The ear is there on a lot of them. We’re going to have some stubby ears and some that are good and finished.”

The U.S.D.A.’s weekly crop update is issued on Monday afternoons.