First corn harvesters are in the fields, gathering specialized grain for hybrid varieties


September 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

While the full-scale corn harvest won’t start in Iowa for a couple of weeks, farmers are now beginning to bring in the first loads of specialized grain. In central Iowa, near Ankeny, Paul Mens runs a corn picker that’s designed for harvesting ears that will be shelled at a nearby Monsanto seed corn processing plant. “On a seed corn harvester, we pick it in the ear and we do not have a yield monitor,” Mens says. “In my opinion, for what this has been through, the yield is real good. They don’t tell us what each variety or inbred is supposed to make, we don’t have a clue, but this has done real well. You can tell where the wet spots were, where it was too wet this spring, but overall, it’s doing real well.”

Monsanto is paying Mens to harvest ears from the stalks that were detasseled earlier in the season for a future hybrid seed corn variety. “This is an earlier variety,” he says. “We’re actually the only ones running. There are four picker groups that pick for our plant at Grinnell. We’re the only ones running right now. Nobody else is going. This earlier variety came on before the dry weather hit. As we get further into the season, we’ll see how bad that did hurt.”

Iowa’s market corn harvest likely won’t begin until fall arrives in just under two weeks on September 22nd. Harvesting this specialized corn is considered a preview of the drought’s impact on the crop.

(Radio Iowa)