Regional Update: Harvest Edition 2023

October 11, 2023 9:40 AM
Blog Post

Harvest is rolling right along across the state. Check out what ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists are seeing and hearing on how harvest is progressing in their respective areas of the state.

Northwest Iowa

Leah Ten Napel (Region 1): “Harvest has been steadily progressing here in NW Iowa. Bean harvest is getting close to wrapping up in most areas. Corn harvest is closer to the 50% mark across all my counties. Yields have been variable for both crops, but corn yields are coming in higher than producers expected, some farmers averaging 200+ bushels per acre across their fields. Soybean yields have been highly variable. I am hearing reports of 30 to 80 bushels per acre soybean yields, depending on where the rainfall events were and plant health towards the end of the growing season. Cover crops that were planted early with adequate rainfall following are coming up nicely. An early harvest gives us a larger window of time for field work in the fall. Keep in mind we want to wait to apply fall nitrogen and manure until soil temperatures are 50°F and dropping. Use this website to track current and forecasted soil temperatures.”

Cover Crop field in NW Iowa
Earlier planted cover crops that have recieved adequate rainfall are coming along quite nicely. Photo credit: Leah Ten Napel, ISU. 

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “I would estimate soybean harvest is around 80% complete in NC Iowa and corn harvest is around 50% complete. In the first 11 days of October, rainfall amounts continue to be small to non-existent with no rain received at Iowa Falls and 0.29 inches of rain received at Mason City. From April 10 through October 10, Hampton is 12.5 inches of rain below average. The weather has been very cooperative for harvest, but with that being said, there have been multiple combine and field fires around NC Iowa. The low temperature for the Northern Research Farm at Kanawha was 27.5 degrees on the morning of October 9.  Given the high variability in yields this year, I would suggest if you have not taken soil samples in the past 2-4 years, you consider taking samples this fall. Higher than anticipated yields (due to drought) last year and this year will have removed more crop nutrients from the field and may require being replaced for future crop needs.”

Central Iowa

Meaghan Anderson (Region 7): “Harvest is trucking right along in central Iowa; many farmers have told me they’re wrapping up with soybean and moving on to corn in the last week. Yields remain good to excellent in many cases, but the variability remains high within and across fields for yield, moisture, and standability of the crop. Soybeans were small, but relatively good yielding and harvested well in many fields. Beans very quickly went from borderline too wet to too dry in those warm temperatures and high winds a couple weeks ago. Corn stalks are very brittle and will be very susceptible to any winds or adverse weather in the coming weeks until they’re harvested. I’ve heard many reports of plenty of dusty corn, green stems and dry soybeans, and equipment/field fires. Recent phone calls have been about a variety of topics – the large amount of volunteer soybeans in early-harvested fields, fall weed control, soil sampling and fertilizer application, and compaction. Stay safe out there!”

Field with volunteer soybeans following harvest
An early harvested soybean field in Central Iowa with a large amount of volunteer soybeans. Photo credit: Meaghan Anderson, ISU. 

Southwest Iowa

Aaron Saeugling (Region 10): “Harvest progress is well under way in SW Iowa, with soybean harvest approximately 65 to 85% done. Green stems are still causing issues in some areas, so until a hard freeze occurs this will be an issue for some locations. Corn harvest has started and is not too far along as most farmers are working on harvesting soybeans. Early yield reports are better than average. Pasture conditions are very poor for fall and most farmers are starting to feed hay. Another concern is that water will be an issue for most farmers this fall."

East Central, Southeast, and South-Central Iowa

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Harvest has been in full swing in EC Iowa. Many either have finished up or will be finishing up with soybean harvest soon, and corn harvest is also moving right along. Yields have been variable across the area and across fields. Green stems in soybeans have been issue for some this year, and on the corn side, standability concerns and the black mold on leaves (saphrophytic fungi) have been the main concerns I’ve heard about. With the dry conditions there have also been several equipment/field fires. Please be safe! As we start to think about post-harvest activities this fall, check out these good reminders on soil sampling this fall and fall nitrogen applications for both anhydrous ammonia and manure. Finally, on the forage front now is the time to also start making plans and preparing either for any new seedings next year or renovations to pastures.”

Check out the map below to find your local ISU Extension field agronomist and find their contact information here
Map of field agronomist areas in Iowa



Rebecca Vittetoe Field Agronomist in EC Iowa

Rebecca Vittetoe is an extension field agronomist in east central Iowa. Educational programs are available for farmers, agribusiness, pesticide applicators, and certified crop advisors.

Areas of expertise include agronomy, field crop production and management of corn, soybeans, and...