Wet crop harvest costing extra time and money - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Wet crop harvest costing extra time and money


Crop harvest ended last year at the beginning of October, but it's almost November and many farmers are still busy in the fields because of the extra moisture in the air.

Generally, water is good for crops. At this time of year though, all of the extra moisture can cause big problems.

"Not only is it a delay of getting stuff harvested, the process costs more because the corn will pick up moisture after a good rain and fog like we've had the last day and a half," John Hansen, Grain Manager for Farmers Co-Op in Sioux Center said.

Harvesting wet corn not only takes longer in the fields, but the corn has to be dried before it's stored, and that means an extra step after the corn is removed from the field.

The corn has to be taken down to 15 percent moisture before it's stored for the winter, but most of the corn coming in is at 20 percent.

"The last two years, we were short on moisture so the corn dried down naturally in the field, but this year was different. We anticipated drying most of our corn," Marvin Wynia, Sioux Center Farmers Co-Op Farmer said.

Drying costs farmers money to the tune of 20 cents a bushel; most of the extra cost is for propane to run the machine.  

Add it up, and for a farm of 400 acres that's a loss of about 16 thousand dollars in revenue.

"It goes directly to the bottom line, to the farmers. We have a set drying rate that we publish every year at the beginning of the season, and if it comes in at a certain moisture, it gets discounted accordingly to cover our costs," Hansen said

While the moisture in the corn may be causing significant costs for farmers, they say with every harvest comes a new crop of problems, and this moisture may just be a good thing come next spring.

"You know, that's just part of farming. You work with weather, and you just cope with it," Wynia said.

Farmers say that the harvest should be done in the next week and a half as long as the sun stays out.


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