ISA Newsroom

Agricultural news farmers want to know.

Observations from the field: The start of harvest

Article cover photo
ISA On-Farm Network regional agronomists (from left Matt Hoffman, Brett McArtor and Anthony Martin) have been across the state this fall and share their observations here. Photo credit: Joe Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association

The ISA regional agronomists share their observations from the first part of harvest.

Northwest Iowa

Harvest is behind the norm as crops are maturing a little later due the cooler weather streaks in August and September. The constant rain over the last week and a half for most of the state is certainly a contributor as well. Aside from silage, not much harvest has taken place North of Highway 3. Harvest fired up for soybeans and a small amount of corn the last week of September around Highway 3 and further south for a few days before the rain hit, giving farmers a chance to get things rolling.

The hot and dry conditions over the summer are certainly resulting in variable yields, even within fields. However, harvested yields reported so far have been a pleasant surprise for most. Harvested soybeans in central/ west central Iowa range from about 45-85 bu/A, with most reporting in the upper 60s- low 70s territory. The 85 bushel-field high took place in a drip irrigated field in Crawford County. Soybeans appear to be doing well with the scant traces of rain most areas got.

Not much data for corn at this time, but I suspect a lot of guys will be switching to corn as we get closer to mid-October. Time is going to be of the essence again this year and farmers should be scouting their corn fields and checking stalk integrity as soon as possible to prioritize harvest. Hoping the corn was able to handle the water deficit as well as most soybeans have. Stay safe out there. – Matt Hoffman, ISA regional agronomist for NW Iowa. Submitted 10/11/17

Southern Iowa

Harvest in SE Iowa has been in full swing for the last 3 weeks or so. I have heard yields have been fair except in the most drought-effected areas. Soybeans are averaging 50-70 bu/A, corn in the 200-240 range. In droughty areas 25-40 bu/A beans, 150-180 corn. Last time I was in Southwest Iowa there was very little harvest going on, a few soybean fields here or there. I suspect harvest has picked up this past week since when I was out before the rains. I don’t really have a yield range but I know that region caught a few more rains this summer then SE Iowa did.

With the recent rains harvest has been very slow this past week. Talking with several farmers their soybean yields have been equal to or greater than last year. They attribute that to excellent seedling emergence and very little disease pressure.  – Brett McArtor, ISA regional agronomist for Southern Iowa. Submitted 10/13/17

Northeast Iowa

With harvest starting in NE Iowa many have been working hard to get the soybean crop out, with combines just starting to find their way into the corn fields. Yields, similar to those coming out of the NW, are variable and have been restricted (in soybeans) due to some white mold issues. Soybean yields have ranged from 35 (again white mold problems) to the mid/upper 60’s. A couple of farmers have suggested that their early maturity soybeans have been yielding better than the later varieties. Where dicamba damage was observed earlier in the season, reports are suggesting from no yield loss up to a 40 bushel reduction. Most have seen the bulk of these losses coming from fields that were affected closer to or at flowering.

Early corn yields have been fairly variable as well with reports from 180 to above 240. Some farmers have been somewhat disappointed with their yields, stating that they are below where they were hoping to be given the summer we’ve experienced. Rains over the last week or so have kept many out of the fields but guys are starting to find their way back in to continue harvest. Expect a lot of acres to be harvested this week before the rain postpones operations again this weekend. – Anthony Martin, ISA regional agronomist for Northeast Iowa Submitted 10/17/17

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

©2018 Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network®. All rights reserved. On-Farm Network® is a registered trademark of the Iowa Soybean Association, Ankeny, IA.Portions of some On-Farm Network trials are paid for in total or in part by the soybean checkoff.

Top StoriesArchive

EPA buckling under Iowa political pressure to preserve, strengthen RFS

Innovation, adaptation featured topics at ISA Farmer Research Conference

Recent NewsArchive

Podcast Series See more

Podcast Library Graphic