Harvesting soy in Iowa

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

Harvest in review

November 22, 2022 | Jeff Hutton

As farmers sit down to Thanksgiving dinner this week, many are grateful for a good harvest season following a very dry growing season.

Drought conditions hampered many producers throughout the growing season, but now that the 2022 harvest season is complete, some Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) farmer-members say they are pleased with the overall results.

ISA District 1 Director and Treasurer Brent Swart from Spencer says he was pleased with the 2022 harvest in northwest Iowa.

“Things went very quickly … straight through, no stoppages due to weather,” he says. “And yields were surprisingly good considering what we went through.

“The fields were dry, crops were dry. It was fast paced and good conditions. I cannot complain.”

In north central Iowa, ISA farmer-member Reed Burres remains an optimist following this year’s harvest.

“Firstly, most years normally won't be too far off of the average. I certainly found this to be true this year,” he says from his Humboldt County farm. “We had our sandy fields average 170 on corn, 40 on soybeans with many of our better fields averaging around or just over 200 on corn and low- to mid-50s on soybeans.

“Averaging everything out, we had farm averages of 193 and 50. Talk about above expectations for a dry year! We ended up with only 6 inches of measurable rainfall from May to September. Rain does not necessarily make grain, timely rain certainly does though.

“All in all, it was a good year, above average prices, below average yields, coupled with above average costs and uncertainty in many areas regarding the future it gives this young farmer a bit more of a reason to stick around and see what happens next year.”

In southeast Iowa, yield numbers were right about average and or a little below average.

“This was a pleasant surprise considering we had been in a D2 drought (severe drought) during most of the growing season,” says Pat Swanson, ISA District 9 director and farmer from Wapello County.

“We definitely saw a yield advantage on the better soils and on the tiled fields,” she says.

Swanson also noted that as far as her crop insurance clients were concerned, many filed claims having seen shallow losses for the most part.

Swanson’s fellow District 9 Director Tom Adam, who is also part of the ISA executive board as the at-large member, offered some bullet points as to the harvest season:

  • Yields for corn and soybeans were down about 20-25% in Keokuk County on average. More severe reductions on thinner soils, less severe on better soils.
  • Rain events were very few and spotty throughout the latter two-thirds of the growing season.
  • Post harvest, Adam says, they received substantial rain, but not enough to make the tile run.

In central Iowa, ISA District 5 Director Dave Struthers says dry conditions were a factor during most of the harvest season.

“You know between Sept. 20 and Oct. 24, we hardly had any rain,” he says. “Harvest went quickly. We didn’t have any rain until after we were done.”

But the yields from his fields in Story County were surprising, he says, given the dry conditions.

While one field, corn-on-corn planted early, was disappointing with 160 bushels per acre, other locations yielded strong results:

“One of our farms had its best yields in 45 years.”

Struthers says most farmers are “eternal optimists … trying to make the best management decisions possible.”