DELMAR, Iowa — Colder weather, golden fields and a lingering cloud of dust over local farmland? The soybean harvest is officially in full swing.
Around the Quad City area, a bone-dry start to October is bolstering bean picking, and for many local farmers, early yields are higher than in years past. But soybean profits aren't exactly reflecting that good fortune.
For Joe Dierickx, it takes six steps up into the combine to knock out 100 acres of beans.
When News 8 caught up with him, Dierickx was busy harvesting beans just outside of Delmar, Iowa. He said yields are looking great so far.
"Last year, we probably did 10% less yield than we're doing this year," Dierickx said. "We're really pleased with our yields."
Right now, he's averaging between 70-72 bushels per acre. It's been a welcome sight after a wet and rainy spring pushed the planting season back by two weeks.
"We're still probably two weeks late in harvesting," Dierickx added. "Last year, I started September 15, and this year, we barely got started till October 1."
Throughout Scott, Cedar and Jackson Counties, timely summer rains led to near-ideal growing conditions. However, the same cannot be said for parts of southeastern and northwestern Iowa, which has been suffering from months of drought.
"There were spots even in Clinton County that missed a lot of the rains in July, and it has affected the yields a little bit," Dierickx noted. "They're probably down 10 bushels from everybody else around"
Those dry conditions were also felt around the QCA during the first week and a half of October, but Dierickx isn't complaining. He said the recent dry weather has actually been optimal for harvesting.
"Right now, as the weatherman would say, we're in a mini-drought, which is perfect for harvest. So if we can keep having a drought, why, I'll thank the weatherman and we'll have a nice easy harvest," Dierickx laughed.
Still, good soybean yields haven't exactly been translating into great profits.
Low water levels on the Mississippi have impacted river traffic, forcing barges to carry lighter loads on their trip south. That, combined with rising input costs - from everything from fertilizer to seeds to spare tractor parts, is taking a chunk out of bean prices.
However, Dierickx said that for now, he's choosing to stay positive.
"This is my favorite time of the year! There's something satisfying about filling your bins in the fall. It's like a comfort blanket, I swear, for farmers," he said.
So, for now, he's focused on getting as much out of each row.
"If you had good yields, it's going to be a good year for you," Dierickx said. "Slow and steady does win the race."
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