Area farmers reap benefits of warm, mild fall

Harvest 2021 update

The Vavroch family of rural Elberon is pictured last Tuesday, October 5 in a bean field near the Tama-Benton line during a brief pause in combining. Back row (l-r), Allison and Ryan Vavroch; front row (l-r), their children, Kelsey and Lauren Vavroch. -- Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

As it stands now, the 2021 grain harvest in Tama County is shaping up to be a successful one thanks to a warm and mild autumn — a welcome change from the harvest of 2020 which took place in the wake of the devastating August 10 derecho.

Ryan Vavroch and his young family farm in rural Elberon along the Tama-Benton line. Vavroch and his father have been out in the fields since September 13 — by the end of last week the Vavrochs had about 50 percent of their grain combined.

“We’re very comfortable where we’re at right now,” Vavroch said while standing in a bean field during a brief break from combining, his young girls Lauren, 9, and Kelsey, 6, playing a safe distance away. “The weather has allowed us to start early.”

This year Vavroch planted about half his fields in corn and half in beans.

In addition to farming, Vavroch also owns and operates Vavroch Trucking with his wife Allison — a “full time job within a full time job,” as he described it.

Mike Vavroch pulls a grain cart in a bean field along the Tama-Benton line near Elberon on Tuesday, October 5. Vavroch was helping his son Ryan Vavroch — who was nearby in the combine — with harvest. -- Photo by Soren M. Peterson

“We store most of our corn on the farm and truck it to Cedar Rapids throughout the year depending on market opportunities. We raise seed beans for Remington and non-GMO soybeans for Cargill — these bushels are sold directly to these companies.”

According to the September edition of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s “Ag Decision Maker” newsletter, “the pattern of yields across the country remained consistent with earlier estimates, with record yields projected in the eastern Corn Belt and lower yields in the west. … we are back to talking about the potential for a record corn crop.”

Iowa’s corn yield estimate is up to 198 bushels per acre.

The same goes for beans, according to the September newsletter, which are seeing record yields in the east and drought-stressed crops in the west. “Overall, national soybean production is projected at 4.374 billion bushels, which would be the third largest, trailing only the 2017 and 2018 crops.”

Iowa’s soybean yield estimate is up slightly to 59 bushels per acre.

Ryan Vavroch of Vavroch Trucking, Elberon takes a break from combining beans to visit with his young family last Tuesday, October 5. Vavroch’s father Mike Vavroch operates the tractor visible in the distance behind him. -- Photo by Soren M. Peterson

“We didn’t combine any corn last year so this is great,” Vavroch said before taking a quick call, telling his girls who had just arrived home from school ‘goodbye’ again, and climbing back up into the combine.

For as good as the harvest is looking this year, nothing in farming is ever guaranteed and the harvest isn’t in yet.

Ryan Vavroch of rural Elberon steps down from his combine during a brief break from harvesting beans to visit with his young family who had driven out to see him. Vavroch and his dad Mike Vavroch (not pictured) have been in the fields since September 13 and have about 50 percent of their crop in. -- Photo by Soren M. Peterson