Soggy Harvest Season Provides Challenges for Iowa Farmers

A muddy farm field in Linn County.  Farmers say it may be a week before they can resume...
A muddy farm field in Linn County. Farmers say it may be a week before they can resume harvesting with the wet weather.(KCRG)
Published: Oct. 14, 2018 at 9:06 AM CDT
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It has been one of the soggiest harvest seasons central Iowa farmers have seen in a long time.

KCCI got a first-hand look at the challenges that farmers are facing and the extraordinary lengths they're going to to get their crops out of the field. “Too much rain in too short of time,” farmer Jim Handsaker said.

Two weeks of seemingly nonstop rain turned many central Iowa fields into rivers of mud. “Out here, they say they’re going through 2 feet of water (in) some places,” Handsaker said. “It just can’t get away fast enough.”

Handsaker and his family spent the day harvesting corn at their farm in Radcliffe. They have the equipment needed for these conditions, but those who don't are out of luck.

“Anything can get stuck with all this mud we have,” Handsaker said. “You sit and wait. You couldn’t get into the field. You couldn’t get out of the field. So you have to sit and wait for it to dry or freeze, one of the two.”

The Handsakers can harvest their crop because they have tracks on their combines. Video from the family on Saturday shows what looked less like a field and more like a body of water.

“We haven’t gotten stuck yet, anyway. Knock on wood,” Handsaker said. The tracks aren't cheap, however. They cost anywhere from $70,000 and $100,000, and this year, they're in high demand.

“People are scouring dealerships all over the Midwest. You go down to Kansas or Minnesota or wherever to find tracks,” Handsaker said. “I know several people who are doing that.”