Farmers say weekend rain helped soybeans

Up to an inch and a half of much needed rain fell on Saturday

A soybean field in Henry County on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. (Matt Nelson/The Gazette - KCRG-TV9)
A soybean field in Henry County on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. (Matt Nelson/The Gazette - KCRG-TV9)

LINN COUNTY- The rain that finally arrived over the weekend in eastern Iowa was probably too late to reverse drought damage to much of the corn crop.

But soybeans can hold out longer waiting for moisture. And farmers say the rain that fell last Saturday may give them a shot at normal yields for beans.

Some eastern Iowa communities in the first eight days of August recorded more rain than the entire month of July.

Linn County farmer John Airy, Jr. said the drought’s still evident on his farm near Central City. But his soybeans received almost an inch and a half of rain last Saturday. He said the effect was almost immediate.

“The next day, you could see the plants that were stressed, the ones on the hilltops, they just looked better. You could see it (rain) perked them up a little bit,” Airy said.

But just 12 miles south, on Denny Sejkora’s farm, the rain results weren’t nearly as beneficial to his beans. Sejkora recorded less than half an inch of rain. That’s about a third of what some farms to the north received Saturday. The moisture was welcome, but that one weekend rain wasn’t enough.

“We’ve still got excellent potential here,” Sejkora said. “Not to make a full crop, I guess. But maybe good enough to settle for, considering the circumstances.”

Sejkora said his soybean pods are still flat—meaning the beans haven’t received enough moisture to swell up and produce near normal yields. That’s what more rain in August could provide.

Airy said the inch and a half of rain he got Saturday, by itself, may have bumped his harvest yield for beans by as much as 10 percent. And a couple more rain events before September could push the soybean crop back into normal range.“If we were to get a couple more inches of rain this month, I think that would really add bushels to it. If it stopped now and shut off, we’re still not going to have an above average crop—but it would still make something,” Airy said.

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