(Posted Fri. Nov 7th, 2014)

The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.


Today, Field Notes caught up with April Hemmes, a farmer from north central Iowa. While USDA reports indicated earlier this week that Iowa was running behind the five-year average in acres harvested, Hemmes noted that things are moving along there.


“We had a good run this week,” said Hemmes. “I know that a lot of farmers are still out there working. Actually, I just saw a guy near me out getting started for the day. Harvest is running later than normal because of the wetter soil conditions.


“In southern and northwest Iowa, a lot of farmers are having so much trouble getting through the fields that they are waiting now for a hard freeze to firm up the ground. The crops are still standing up well, and the corn isn’t drying down like it usually does.”

Hemmes noted that, while reports indicate record yields in many parts of the country, she is pushing record low yields on her farm.


“It is amazing. I have never seen yield variance like this, ranging from 140 to 220 bushels per acre on the same farms. Personally, this was my 29th year farming, and it was my second-to-worst crop in terms of yield. The worst year was in 1993 when we had the floods of Iowa. This year, I only averaged 178 bushels per corn and 38 for soybeans.”


To listen to the full interview with Hemmes, including her assessment of the crop condition, click here.


Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.