Harvest activity ramped up to full throttle last week as farmers in drought-stressed western Iowa raced toward the finish line while their counterparts on the eastern side of the state were still in the early stages of fall work.

“We’re darn near done with harvest here,” said Mitch Sievers, a Buena Vista County Farm Bureau member. “Beans are 100% done, and I think corn will be wrapped up by the middle of next week.”

Severe drought conditions that developed this summer shaved 5% to 10% off corn yields compared to recent years, but results weren’t as bad as farmers feared, he said. 

“People are pretty pleased with the yields, considering the dry year we had,” said Sievers. “Not what we wanted, but a lot better than we thought considering the year we had.”

In southeast Iowa, Lee County farmer Jarad Weber said corn yields are coming in above average after receiving adequate precipitation for most of the...