PATTERSON, Iowa — It’s a rare sunny day as Stephen Cain finishes harvesting this cornfield in Madison County.
“We haven’t had many days like that this fall,” said Stephen’s dad, Paul.
The date was Oct. 3. The Cains got a little more corn done the next day, and then the combine would stay in the shed for more than a week while they watched the rain fall. It’s been that kind of October.
“We had about 4 inches of rain in that time,” Paul said. “I even priced some of those big floater tires but they’ve gotten pretty expensive.”
And so the Cains have tried to sneak in some harvest between the rains. They had combined about half their corn by the 13th, but Paul said that the county-wide average is probably closer to a quarter of the corn combined. They haven’t started on the beans, and Paul said the bean harvest in the area is probably only about 5 or 10 percent done.
“We run no-till corn, and we really don’t want to mud out the beans,” he said.
Yields so far are in the 200-bushel range for corn on good soils and side-hills. On the river bottom where it is wetter those numbers are perhaps 50 bu./acre lower.
And while the corn and beans were drying well late in the summer, they are wet now. With cooler temperatures, they are unlikely to dry as fast now, and that means some farmers in the area may be spending more on crop drying this fall than they had been anticipating.
Still, the Cains say that they will get the crop out of the field eventually. Meanwhile, they get work done with their small cow-calf herd, and they make sure the equipment is repaired and fueled so that when the weather turns they can be ready to go.