The Hetzels farm near Malvern in Mills County. Tyler and Carolyn farm with Tyler’s grandfather, Jess Hetzel. Carolyn works full-time off the farm for a seed company. The couple grow corn and beans, and are working to upgrade machinery for the southwest Iowa farm.
The Hetzels farm near Malvern in Mills County. Tyler and Carolyn farm with Tyler’s grandfather, Jess Hetzel. Carolyn works full-time off the farm for a seed company. The couple grow corn and beans.
Introducing Tyler and Carolyn Hetzel
April 5, 2021: Anhydrous zone bigger in drought-like years
Some guys are talking about planting later this week. Not many, but some on bottom ground are wanting to get started. There is a lot of anhydrous being applied. Soil temperatures are well into the 50s after two days of 80-degree weather. Everything is pretty dry after all the wind we’ve been having. The anhydrous zone is bigger in drought-like years, so folks will want to wait before planting.
April 12, 2021: Planting conditions less than optimal
Sunday’s county soil temperature was 53 degrees. With this week’s highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s, those are not optimal planting conditions. Soil temperatures at 45 degrees and rising are better than 53 degrees and falling. Soil and water temperatures falling below 50 degrees can possibly damage corn, cause sporadic emergence, and lead to a decrease in yields later on. We had a little over an inch of rain for the week.
April 19, 2021: Temperature bigger concern than snow
It looks as though we’re expected to get an inch or two of snow today (Monday). However, that’s not as concerning as the temperature dipping down into the 20s over the next couple of days. We will want to keep an eye on the corn that’s already in the soil. It looks as though it may be next Monday before we see some warm temperatures again. Looking at the 10-day forecast, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sporadic emergence.
April 26, 2021: Planters rolling hard
Planters have been rolling hard the last five days, and I would anticipate that about 80-90% of the corn acres may be planted by the end of the week, based on the extended forecast. The soil temperature is fit and it’s fun to see spring in full swing! This time of year is when the crop has the highest potential, and it’s wonderful to see the planters moving when planting conditions are like they are now.
May 3, 2021: Excited for next few weeks
About 90% or more of the corn crop in our area is in the ground. Fortunately we have recently had about a tenth to two-tenths of an inch of rain this Monday morning. I’m happy to see some fields beginning to spike. Although we didn’t get much rain in the early stage of corn growth, I’m excited to see what the next few weeks will bring.
May 10, 2021: Excited about the crop
We had about two-tenths of an inch of rain Sunday (May 9) and it was definitely needed. We have been fortunate to catch some rain, which will really help in early stage corn and soybean development. We had hardly any cold damage, although I have heard of some replanting. Overall we are very excited about the crop and how things have been going this year.
May 17, 2021: Area 89% planted
We are sitting at about 98% planted in our area. We have accumulated about 0.4 inches of rain in the last few days, which was much needed. If we keep having these timely rains throughout the year, we could yield a decent crop. The cool spring we have had has not generated many GDUs, but with the rain in the forecast and moderately warm weather, it shouldn’t be long before we really start moving.
May 24, 2021: Crop off to a great start
We’re about 98% planted. We’ve been blessed with some soft rain and have accumulated about 1.5 inches over the last week. The crop is coming through and looking good in southwest Iowa. We have had some of the best early spring weather I’ve seen in a while. Of course, that can take a turn quickly, but the crop is off to a great start.
May 31, 2021: SW Iowa gets 'another drink of rain'
Southwest Iowa got another drink of rain this week. We had 0.9 inches on our farm, with most reports from two-tenths to 1.5 inches. Pay close attention to the plants on your farm. They are living organisms trying to communicate with you. The beautiful thing about corn is that it will externally indicate what it’s lacking so you know where to improve soil health next year.
June 7, 2021: Japanese beetle grubs will be an issue
We had no rain last week, and we could definitely use some, but the forecast is not favorable and it’s going to be heating up this week. The corn looks really good so far, and some plants are putting on tillers. Beans are looking good, so no complaints there. We are definitely seeing some Japanese beetle grubs, so they are going to be an issue this summer.
June 14, 2021: Rain minimal, still in drought
We got quite a bit of wind and a little rain on Friday, but it wasn't much rain. We're still in a drought. We're seeing some leaves curled in the corn. This is really a fairly vital time for the crop.
June 21, 2021: Sporadic emergence means sporadic ear placement
There were varied amounts of rain in our area, and we have a chance for more later in the week. There is a lot of sporadic emergence for corn, which means sporadic ear placement. It’s really dry, but plants are resilient. I haven’t heard of anything out of the ordinary for weed pressure, and hopefully fields are sprayed. We will just keep praying for some rain.
June 28, 2021: Corn shot up a foot
Things are looking pretty good — we had anywhere from a half-inch to 3 inches of rain in the area last week when we really needed it. The corn has shot up a foot recently. I don’t think this will carry us through to grain fill, so keep an eye on your crops. We have probably seen some yield issues due to the drought conditions we have had. Hopefully we get the GDUs and rain we need to finish it out.
July 5, 2021: Tassels beginning to pop
Things are looking good. We haven’t reached a high-stress point yet with the crop. I’m seeing a few tassels pop up today (July 2), and tasseling should really take off in the next week. The beans are really moving along, with a lot of flowering. Those beneficial rains we received really helped out. We definitely need to continue to get some rain to keep everything moving.
July 12, 2021: Winds cause green snap
We had about 1.5 inches of rain over the weekend. The high winds caused some green snap, and some corn is laying down. It should recover enough to harvest, but it’s something to be cognizant of as you check fields. We are about to start pollination, so the rain was very timely. Yards are greening up already, and this rain is definitely going to improve pasture conditions in the area.
July 19, 2021: Planes, helicopters fill the air
I’ve seen a lot of planes and helicopters in the air, so we are seeing a lot of fungicide spraying. Most corn fields are fully tasseled, and we could use another rain during this process. I have a corn-on-corn field that has some rootworm issues, so if you have fields with corn on corn and see corn down, you’ll need to check that. Beans look good. We sprayed for beetles to try and get ahead of them.
July 26, 2021: Weather makes stomach turn
My stomach is starting to turn with some of the weather we’ve had lately — 90 degrees with no rain during the reproductive period is setting the plant to abort kernels. It doesn’t look as though we have much rain in the forecast either. Fungicide was definitely a good call with the heavy dew we’ve been experiencing early mornings. Disease thrives in that environment.
August 2, 2021: Time to lower expectations
God blessed us with 1.25 inches of rain last week. We could still use more and won’t have the yields we had last year, but we were staring a disaster in the eye before this last bit of rain. I would advise growers in the area to lower their expectations this fall. We still need to get more moisture to get us through grain fill.
August 9, 2021: 'Good shot' of rain keeps us going
We received another 2 inches of rain this last week. Grain fill is a crucial time in plant development that requires plenty of energy. We are blessed to have received another good shot to keep us going. It will be interesting to see how the crops end up. We still have plenty of time left in the season, so hopefully we can end on a positive note.
August 16, 2021: Fungicide paying off
I definitely think fungicide is going to be beneficial in our area this year. Although it was extremely dry early on, we've had several rains and quite a few heavy fog mornings which is allowing for some anthracnose, rust, GLS and NCLB spotting in various fields. Disease isn't necessarily as aggressive as in years past, but it's still there!
August 23, 2021: Some corn starting to fire
The corn is looking OK. The lighter areas could really use some rain. Some parts of our area had rain Friday. I have seen some corn starting to fire — could be it’s running out of energy, or it’s just shutting down. It would be nice to have more rain before it starts to black layer, but the forecast doesn’t look good. Beans seem to be coming along, and I think the crop can still be decent.
August 30, 2021: Everything maturing rapidly
For our area, we had close to an inch of rain last week. This should help the plants to dry down more properly, although it won’t help a lot with yields. We also need to build subsoil moisture for next year. I have heard of SDS with the beans, and everything seems to be maturing rapidly.
Sept. 6, 2021: Compacted soil needed rain
We’ve had 3.5 inches of rain on our farm since Aug. 30, and I’ve heard reports of up to 5 inches in other areas. The rain has really been beneficial to the beans that haven’t turned yet. If they are turning, it’s not going to help a lot. Corn is filled out and it’s in that dry-down stage. The soil has really been compacted, so it needed this rain as much as anything else.
Sept. 13, 2021: Beans turn in blink of eye
It’s an exciting time of year with the preparation for harvest. It seems as though a bean field is starting to turn and in the blink of an eye, it loses all its leaves. I’ve heard of some guys chopping corn northeast of us at 23% moisture. They’re quite a bit drier than we are, but it’s always exciting to hear guys are moving. Please remember to be safe this fall. We recently lost a young farmer in our area in a tree trimming accident. My heart breaks for his family.
Sept. 20, 2021: Farmers excited to get in the field
I ran into a farmer who had harvested a very short season bean number at just over 60 bushels at around 13% moisture. I don't know of anyone picking corn, but I did see a neighbor begin chopping some. The farmers seem pretty excited to get in the field, and I anticipate some will be running over the next week. Good luck to everyone and please be safe.
Sept. 27, 2021: Dry spring helped corn yield
A lot of guys have begun diving into their fields over the last week — many on beans, but a few on corn. It sounds as though things are better in some areas than anticipated, but other spots that missed out on crucial rains still suffered. If we hadn’t had a dry spring, I don’t think we would see these yields. As tough as it seemed at the time, the dry spring allowed the corn to root down, and lack of moisture also led to less nitrogen loss through leaching.
Oct. 4, Rain allows family, maintenance time
We had 2.1 inches of rain late last week, so harvest was halted. It was too wet over the weekend to do anything, so people were able to spend time with family and do needed machinery maintenance. We tried some beans last night but it was too wet. We will try again today (Monday). I’m hearing good things about yields despite the lack of moisture. This looks like it should be a good week for harvest.
Oct. 11, 2021: Fog, dew tough on bean harvest
The fog and dew have made it difficult to work on beans since they absorb that moisture. We also had some rain Sunday night. It will be a couple of days or so before we can start on beans again. I think folks will work on corn while they wait. I’m still hearing reports of better-than-expected yields for both corn and beans. That’s really surprising considering how dry it has been in our area.
Oct. 18, 2021: Yields surprising in area
We finished beans this morning (Monday), and will be moving on to corn today. Yields remain surprising in our area. A lot of beans are in the 60-plus range. Corn yields are pretty decent as well. One grower reported a field in the 290s. It’s just been a really different year as far as yields go.
Oct. 25, 2021: Harvest in before rain
We had 3 inches of rain Sunday, but thankfully we finished up harvest. We pushed to get it done before it rained. There are still some guys running beans — we are probably 80 to 90% done in our area. Quite a bit of corn is left. I would say 50% or so is left to harvest. We still have a lot of work to finish up in our area.
Nov. 1, 2021: At a standstill until it dries up
It’s been so wet that not much has been done over the past week. I did see some guys trying it Sunday, and even though we got a little rain overnight, they may be out again this afternoon (Monday). We’re pretty much at a standstill until it dries up more. Yield reports remain decent.
Nov. 8, 2021: Farmers show amazing resilience
It seems as though many growers have powered through harvest over the past week. A few more have finished up, and there are still quite a few with acres left to go. It seems as though most will be done by Thanksgiving. The resilience of farmers always amazes me. From unexpected complications to helping a family in need, farmers are truly some of the most wonderful people.
Nov. 15, 2021: Rain break unwanted by some
We got another 1.1 inches of rain last week. That seemed to give those who were running hard another break I’m not sure they were looking for. Harvest continues to push on steadily, with no big wind events or disasters to report. It looks as though we are going to have a couple of nice, warm running days early this week, so I’m praying for no breakdowns for those who are still running.
Nov. 22, 2021: Race to put anhydrous on
We had a couple of really warm days earlier in the week for harvest, but winter is coming. A lot of people are still plugging along with harvest. We are seeing a lot of anhydrous going on as people race to get it on before prices go higher. It’s pretty crazy. Yields are still very good. I think everyone is ready to finish up and start getting ready for 2022.
Nov. 29, 2021: Incredible yields in area
The yields in our area were incredible, with records being broken on some farms. I didn’t think it would be this good, considering how dry we were going into spring, and the drought we had over the summer. But a dry spring and periodic rains worked really well. I did not hear of any out of control disease issues in our area. We are still seeing a yield response from fungicide use, so we will continue to use that on both our beans and corn. Overall, it was a very good year, and we are definitely looking forward to an excellent year in 2022.