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Boone County

Marshall Newhouse

Marshall Newhouse farms with his wife and daughter’s family. They grow corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, and raise pastured turkeys for the Thanksgiving market. They have just started organic production on a 72-acre field.


The combine is temporarily in the shed. Snow is on the ground and in the air. The freeze forecast for next week will be a welcome event so the last of the corn can be pulled out and tucked away. I would guesstimate less than 10 percent of the corn is yet to be harvested countywide. I’ll change gears this afternoon and take a turkey up to the grade school for a third-grade Thanksgiving talk. Carrying a gobbler down a school hallway is a great way to meet kids. It’s been a pleasure visiting with you all this growing season. God bless you during this coming winter.


We dumped 1 inch out of the gauge. Needless to say the harvest is slowing to a snail's pace. With the sun's energy diminished, mud is staying around, and corn moisture has bottomed out at 16 percent. We completed the corn plot three days ago and results were completely opposite from what was expected. I put the plot on a clay knob and expected “clay knob” results. I ended up with corn that beat production on my Muscatine soils. With 80 percent of my harvest complete, I can safely say if I’m heading to a flat, black and beautiful field, I will anticipate good production. If I’m heading to a field with 2 percent or greater slope, it’s going to be fun. The county still has a third of the corn left, and the forecast is for another storm system in two days. I might be hoping for a freeze if this keeps up.


Boone County is within a day or two of completing bean harvest. I am very thankful for the benign weather the last 10 days to move through 70 percent of our corn harvest without further stalk deterioration. Corn is down to 16 percent moisture on very good production. Most of the cereal rye cover crop is in, and more than half is greening up. To sum it up, we can see the finish line. I made a mistake driving 200 miles south and seeing everyone else is already done.


For the last week we have enjoyed a stretch of cool and dry weather. Starting around Oct. 10 people began nosing back into the corn. Since Oct. 15, bean dust has been flying. I’m putting the county’s bean harvest near 60 percent complete. We are down to our last 250 acres and it will be good to get them out. We aren’t picking only one way yet, but the reel is forward and low in some varieties. It almost feels like a mad dash to get through this harvest before the next threat of weather plays havoc with stem and stalk. Most of the corn is under 18 percent, but on our farm it will have to wait a few more days. I’ve only picked No. 2 corn twice in 39 years -- maybe 2018 will be the third year.