Dubuque County farmer says rain, cold, wind a bad combination for harvesting

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DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) -- Farmers are having a hard time harvesting wet fields, and they say it's not going to get any easier with the cold and windy weekend forecast.

Farmhands harvest Craig Recker's cornfields in Dubuque County on Thursday, October 10, 2019. (Charlie Grant KCRG)

Craig Recker, a Dubuque County farmer who's President of the Dubuque County Farm Bureau, said farmers have had a slow start to the harvest season. It's mainly due to the fact that Dubuque County had more than 13 inches of rain in the month of September.

"With the wet conditions out there, you might get into a field and you can go three-quarters of the way across it and then you hit a wet spot and so it complicates things," Recker explained. "The equipment won’t go through it, it takes more time, you can’t do as good a job of harvesting. It just makes everything a little more stressful.”

Now a cold front will move into Iowa, bringing with it lows in the 30s and high winds. That won't help the farmers, according to Recker.

He said the cold, "definitely slows up the natural drying process of the corn. If you can catch a little bit of heat this time of year, that dries the crop down in the field naturally.” The wind can blow down corn stalks.

Recker said when farmers get behind on harvesting, it impacts other businesses.

“The co-ops with the fertilizer application this really sets them guys back," Recker said. "Because the later it gets into the fall, the less of a chance they have to get the fertilizers applied this fall, so then that sets everything up for a busier season next spring.”

Recker hopes conditions improve, but says he will roll with whatever Mother Nature does.

"We gotta deal with the conditions that we got," he said.