Soybean September

Soybean fields in northwestern Iowa show varying degrees of maturity. “You can see different soil types by condition of soybeans,” crop watcher Kelly Nieuwenhuis said.

In northwestern Iowa, drought conditions continue. In past two weeks we have basically received no precipitation, and with the heat off and on crop conditions continue to deteriorate.

The silage chopping is pretty much done, probably the earliest this has been wrapped up in northwestern Iowa since 2012. Conditions for chopping were good to start with, but corn got too dry in a hurry. Some decided to chop over night to try to get a little moisture from dew to help silage quality.

There were a couple soybean fields harvested in our neighborhood last week, I have never seen beans harvested this early in northwestern Iowa on good ground. I haven’t heard yield results yet.

We will probably be harvesting some in next 10 days or so, depending on weather conditions. Corn is maturing fast, so we may actually do some corn before we try soybeans.

We have been getting grain bins ready for harvest and replace a few bearings in the grain augers.

I have had a few Zoom meetings with the U.S. Grains Council and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). USGC discussion was mainly on ethanol exports to Mexico and the challenges involved with trade.

With MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) still being used in Mexico, 90% of fuel retailers being owned by the government, and Mexico having large revenues from fuel taxes, that market is a hard one to get into. Trying to show the environmental and health benefits of ethanol over MTBE is the main focus. Mexico had a large increase in industrial ethanol imports for use in hand sanitizers, and that continues to be a growing market.

With NCGA we discussed our low carbon octane standard and on low carbon fuel standards. Much of the discussion in the biofuels industry has focused on carbon – whether carbon sequestration, carbon credits down to the farmer level, or carbon credits paid to biofuels producers for their improvements on lowering energy use in production process.

There is a Midwest Clean Fuels Policy in the works. The main focus is with increased infrastructure for biofuels retailers to help increase demand for unleaded 88 (E15) and mid-level blends and also carbon credits being paid to farmers for their farming practices in carbon sequestration and lowering emissions.

Carbon credits would be paid by market driven investors who are looking to improve their carbon scores. A lot of interesting discussion is being had on these issues, and we want to be at the table as farmers to protect our industry and promote all the good agricultural practices already being used to become carbon neutral or carbon negative.

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! Have a safe harvest.

Kelly Nieuwenhuis farms in O’Brien County, Iowa. His report was filed Sept. 6.