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Dry stretch knocks bushels off Southeast corn yields

Dry stretch knocks bushels off Southeast corn yields

Jim Cuddeback

While the dry weather took the top ends off yields, clear skies through the first two weeks of October allowed Jim Cuddeback to get through most any field.

WASHINGTON, Iowa — An early October rain gave Jim Cuddeback time to sit in his office and think about harvest so far in 2021. Overall, he’s feeling good about it.

The Washington County farmer said rains have been few and far between to wrap up the 2021 growing season in Southeast Iowa, leading to a fast and furious harvest. And so far yields have held up to expectations.

“We didn’t get much rain for three weeks in August, but we still are getting pretty good yields,” Cuddeback said. “I’d imagine my beans are probably averaging someplace in the mid-60s to upper 60s and corn is probably averaging 200 to 215. You can’t complain.”

That dry stretch in August limited some of the crop development, Cuddeback said, estimating it could have knocked 20 to 30 bushels off of corn yields.

“It’s still good, but doing ear counts early on after pollination, we were looking at 250 bushel corn, and we aren’t getting that anywhere in any field,” Cuddeback said. “Ten miles north of here, they caught several rains we didn’t get and they are getting much better yields on corn and beans than we are. I’ll never complain about 65 bushel beans, however.”

While the dry weather took the top ends off yields, clear skies through the first two weeks of October allowed Cuddeback

to get through most any field. That has led to manageable moisture levels in the crop too, and the potential for less propane needs.

“Corn has really been drier than we expected,” Cuddeback said, as he was rattling off moisture percentages ranging from 21.3% and 16.5% in various fields.

He said some of the soybeans were coming out with a little moisture early on, nearly topping 14%, but otherwise have been at 13% or under.

Cuddeback said he was a little disappointed in weed control this year in corn, particularly with late weeds.

“Some fields are better than others, but it wasn’t perfect weed control in the corn,” Cuddeback said. “Beans were just about perfect. I don’t see many weeds when running combines into those fields, which is good.”

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