Possible early harvest in eastern Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Possible early harvest in eastern Iowa

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DELAWARE COUNTY (KWWL) -- Experts say harvest time is coming soon, thanks to hot, dry weather.

They also say this season's weather conditions during planting and growing season will put different corn varieties to the test, and not every farmer may be happy with the yield.

Some eastern Iowa farmers have already begun harvesting corn, but the vast majority of that is corn silage. Still, experts say even that is about two weeks earlier than normal.

Gary Lahr is a farmer and works for the Iowa Farm Bureau. He said he is now seeing the results of early planting back in April, when conditions were ideal.

"Looks to me like it's a good week to two weeks ahead of schedule," Lahr said. "As far as grain count and test weight and whatnot, that'll be yet to be determined. See what the weather does."

Over in Worthington, the local Crop Production Services manager Terry Bockenstedt said "In two months, guys will be harvesting corn, which is a month earlier than last year."

Bockenstedt said an early harvest doesn't necessarily mean a good yield.

"You can see fields that are nice and green, and this is where this ear comes from," Bockenstedt said, holding up a full ear of corn. "But in that same field, because of all that excess moisture, you'll see yellow spots in the field. Some of the nitrogen was lost."

In his other hand, he held up an ear of corn whose kernels stopped an inch and a half from the tip and said both ears came from the same field.

"It just depends on where you're at, and the conditions and the flooding that has occurred," Bockenstedt said.

Experts such as Bockenstedt and Lahr say they really won't be able to tell the exact effect summer moisture has had on the crop until farmers harvest their corn.

"Once combines start rolling, then it will tell a lot," Lahr said.

Still, this has been the most dry time right before harvest season in the past two years, so farmers are hoping for the best.

As far as planning for next year, "Make sure that they look at every variety of corn that they can, and harvest accordingly," Bockenstedt said.

Dryer corn this harvest season means liquid propane dealers could see a drop in sales. One dealer in Worthington told KWWL he expects to see anywhere between one-third and one-fourth of last year's sales, since farmers won't need as much fuel for their grain-drying bins.

Online Reporter: Becca Habegger

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