Heat, Dryness Take Toll On Soybean Crop

Iowa Farm Scene

End of summer drought conditions have reduced Iowa's soybean yield potential, as well as corn.

Published on: September 9, 2013

How many acres went unplanted? About 35,000 acres in Mitchell County. In Mower County just across the border in Minnesota it's 75,000. Howard County, Iowa, also has a lot of prevented planting fields. How about the beans that did get planted in that area of Iowa -- how do they look now?

Planting was so spread out, there are basically four crops of soybeans in northern Iowa this year

"We basically have four crops of beans in Mitchell County and the surrounding area," says Fredericks. "A few large farmers planted corn and beans at the same time, got them planted at a decent time. Those beans are now starting to turn and look real good. Our first beans on our farm were planted June 5. They look pretty good now in early September; they're still green, done flowering, podded pretty well, now starting to fill pods. They have potential, barring an early frost, of making average yields."

The next crop of beans Fredericks planted was on June 18, 19 and 20. Those beans, as of September 6, have 16 to 17 nodes and are still flowering, he reports. They're starting to pod pretty well. But the pods are relatively flat yet. "We still need a lot of time to fill those pods. But the beans are healthy," he adds.

The last crop of beans, are those that farmers finished planting in early July. "As of today (September 6) they are a little bit more than a cover crop," says Fredericks. "They have an average of 10 nodes and if you're lucky you might find 10 pods. They're still flowering."

Fredericks on September 5 attended the monthly ISA board meeting in Des Moines. The 18 or so farmers on the board reported on crop progress they're seeing back home. What kind of yield prospects do they see?

Stifling heat and dryness in late summer has taken a toll on Iowa crops in 2013, but farmers are still hopeful

While most of Iowa's 2013 bean crop got off to a late start due to the record wet spring and delayed planting, the dry summer and stifling heat at summer's end has taken its toll, too. Harvest predictions from ISA members vary according to localized summer rainfall. Some say crops on sandy soils are a complete loss, others expect good yields given the challenging growing season and many are predicting average or slightly below yields.