The latest crop conditions report, released today by the U.S.D.A., shows only 5 percent of Iowa’s corn has been harvested. That’s about three weeks behind the normal schedule. Cool weather and abundant rain in some areas put Iowa’s corn maturity about six days behind the five-year average.
Many growers are like Winnebago County’s Wayne Johnson, who reports corn kernels are retaining 25 percent moisture — about 10 percent more than can be stored without spoiling. Johnson says when he does begin harvesting, maybe in a week to 10-days, the corn must be dried using LP gas.
That takes extra work and money. “It puts high demands on driers and so, instead of just harvesting it and dumping it in a bin — which is a wonderful way to harvest — you need to get it into a wet holding, then transfer it to a drier, then transfer it out of the drier to its final storage,” Johnson says. “So it takes a lot of extra work when you have to dry and a lot of extra gas to dry.”
The U.S.D.A. report places 76 percent of Iowa’s corn crop in good to excellent condition. Iowa’s soybean harvest, at nine-percent complete, is the lowest percentage harvested by this date in over 30 years. Seventy-four-percent of the state’s soybean crop is listed in good to excellent condition.