While the deck was stacked against area farmers in many ways during the last season, including wet weather for planting, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist Rebecca Vittetoe said the area had an average year as far as corn yields.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, forecast corn yields for the year were down, with the east central district, including Washington and Henry counties, having the highest yields for the state. Tentative reports from the Nov. 1, 2018, forecast of the year show the area produced 217 bushels of corn per acre.
The planting season started off slowly, with farmers having to wait for cool and wet April weather to let up before fields were fit to be planted, Vittetoe reported. She said planting had been delayed until the very end of April.
“Getting started was a little bit of a headache, but once we finally got started going things went pretty good for farmers overall,” Vittetoe said.
Throughout the growing season, Washington County and much of Henry County proved to be in a sweet spot with just enough moisture for healthy crops, while counties just south were very dry. At the same time counties to the north were too wet.
Vittetoe also reported diseases that impact corn for the year weren’t found in Washington County, despite being found in Johnson County.
Harvest proved to be difficult, as rains limited the number of days farmers could work in the fields.
Temperatures during the growing season were almost perfect for the crops, as above-average temperatures were seen in May and June, while below-average temperatures were seen in July and August.
Vittetoe said trying to predict what crops will be like during the coming season would be difficult, as every year is different. She will continue to listen to what climatologists and weather forecasters say, but will be ready for anything to happen.
“We have to be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” she said. “That is what keeps it interesting for all of us ag people. Each year has its own challenges and you have to learn to overcome those challenges.”