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Rain continues to slow U.S. soybean harvest

Rain continues to slow U.S. soybean harvest

National progress is 14 percent behind last year’s figures

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Some U.S. soybean producers are trying to harvest as many acres as they can before the next stretch of rain comes through their area.

Farmers have combined about 53 percent of the national soybean crop, the USDA’s latest Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin says. That number is down from 67 percent at this time last year.

In Iowa, farmers are only 37 percent through soybean harvest, which is 20 percent behind where they were a year ago.

The rain has caused this delay, said Bill Shipley, a producer from Adams County, Iowa and president of the Iowa Soybean Association.

“It’s still wet out there and (weather forecasters) are calling for rain tonight, so that’s going to stop soybean harvest,” he told

“We had two weeks of rain, but it wasn’t light showers where maybe you could combine a few acres. We received over six inches of rain (during that time) and I’ve got water standing in places I’ve never had any water standing.”

The longer conditions remain wet and cold, the more crop quality becomes an issue. Pods are also starting to pop open, resulting in yield loss, Shipley said.

Growers may file insurance claims but that doesn’t guarantee a profit, he added.

“Insurance isn’t a money-making tool,” he said. “It helps pay the bills. It may even put you a little behind but at least you’re still in business.”

Corn producers are also facing challenges because of the rain.

“We’ve had several rain delays and did make some ruts earlier that we’ve had to repair with tillage,” Don Guinnip, a producer from Clark County, Ill., told

Corn harvest in Illinois is about 82 percent completed, the USDA says. That number is up from 60 percent last week.

Harvest progress is dependent on location, Guinnip said. Producers in his area have combined about 70 percent of corn, he added.

The rains have helped highlight the importance of drainage.

“Fields that are well drained in the area are averaging around 200 bushels per acre,” Guinnip said. “There’s places in the corn fields where you can tell we’ve lost nitrogen. Corn in those areas were down between 20 and 30 bushels per acre.”

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