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

"If the frost comes at the normal time, it's going to cut into our crop in Mitchell and surrounding counties, probably pretty severely," he says. "But if we happen to get a warm spell which carries us into mid-October, the situation will be a little more acceptable for us up here in northeast and north-central Iowa. Thanksgiving would be a great Thanksgiving if that's when the first frost comes."

Cool weather in July and first half of August held the Iowa crop behind in development

The weather in Iowa stayed cool through July and first half of August, "and we actually lost a number of degree days," says Fredericks. "We were about six weeks late planting and then we lost some more weeks due to cool weather -- about 5. Thus, we are about two months behind. We made it up somewhat with heat the last half of August and into September, but we're basically two months behind. The recent heat has been a blessing for most of our beans on our farm, especially since we've had some rain, which provided some moisture for the plants to work with."

No-till beans really help save precious soil moisture, and precious time this year

On September 6 he observed, "We continue to need a shot of rain to really be of benefit to soybean yields, we'll know how it pans out in another month. We'll have a lot better idea of what the potential yield is going to be for soybeans in Iowa."

Fredericks no-tills his beans. Do those beans look better than conventional tillage beans do in a dry summer? "Our no-till beans have yielded well," he says. "This year no-till gave me a big advantage. When the ground was fit to plant last spring, I was able to get right in there and plant thanks to no-till. I didn't have to worry about working soils and getting the field ready to plant. This year, we used every available minute to put seed in the ground. If I would have been using conventional tillage, we wouldn't have gotten nearly the amount of crop acres planted that we did."