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Harvest chugs along

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 11/14/2013 8:14 AM

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SPENCER, Iowa —Harvest progress continued last week even with the rain and snow on Oct. 22.

"Most farmers are wrapped up with soybean harvest, although not all,'' said Paul Kassel, Extension field agronomist based in Spencer. The soybean harvest continues in the late planted part of my area — Emmet and Palo Alto and east — because that soybean crop was planted June 20 to July 1."

Kassel said yields for late-planted soybean crop are good, about 40 bushels per acre. May-planted soybeans yielded pretty well with a lot of fields in the mid- to upper 50 bushel per acre range.

Farmers are focused on corn, Kassel said.

"Corn yields are decent in the good rainfall areas with some 175 to 190 bushel per acre figures," Kassel said. "Grain moisture is much more than we are used to — a lot of grain moisture levels are in the upper teens to low 20s."

Kassel said manure applications are beginning and strip-till farmers are completing strip-till/fertilizer applications.

Dennis Schwab, who farms near Corwith, said that their beans were planted late, and they just started combining them last week.

"Our soybeans won't be a bumper crop, but they're better than we thought," Schwab said. "Corn yields are average to a little above," Schwab said. "The yields are fairly respectable but they vary a lot."

For the most part, 75 percent to 80 percent of soybeans have been harvested in the area Terry Basol, Extension field agronomist, covers in Howard, Mitchell, Floyd, Chickasaw and Black Hawk counties.

"Yields have been 55 to mid-60s in the southern half of my territory," Basol said. "As you go north, the yields have been tapering off, probably more around 40 to 45 bushels."

Corn is probably around 20 percent harvested.

"I haven't heard a lot of yields yet," he said. "In the southern area I have heard good yields, 180 to 200 bushels. Farther north, the yields have been lower."

Brian Lang, Extension field agronomist at Decorah, said sorghum-sudan requires special management after a frost.

In his Oct. 22 Crop Notes, Lang said these crops require 28 degrees F for a killing frost, however even a "light" frost requires special management.

"Prussic acid accumulates in the frosted tissue within a few hours after thawing and wilting," Lang said. "A light frost may damage just the tops of plants. If this occurs, delay grazing or harvest a few days after frost to allow the prussic acid to dissipate from the plant tops."

He said livestock can be returned to frost injured sudangrass (18 inches or taller) and sorghum-sudan (28 inches or taller) once the frost-damage parts of the forage dry out, which usually takes seven to 10 days.