Fall harvest delayed by rain
Rain and snow are delaying some farmers from getting their crops out of the fields.
“The big deal is the soybeans in Hubbard County,” said Mike Stevens, Hubbard/Wadena County Farm Service Agency executive director. “Beans don’t like to sit in the water. They can get moldy.”
Another downside to a delay in harvest is that crop prices drop later in the season, he said.
In many cases, corn can be left in the field over winter and taken out in the spring.
Water sitting in fields makes it difficult to go in with the combine, Stevens said.
The potato crop has been delayed. However, most of the crop was out before the rain started, Stevens said.
“They seem very close to being done,” he added.
The wet September and October was opposite of conditions in August.
The summer started out looking good until about the end of July and then August was very dry. Many of the non-irrigated corn fields were lost due to dry conditions.
Scott Dau of Leaf River Ag Service in Wadena has been following nature’s effects on potatoes, soybeans and corn since last spring when spring arrived in May. Now, six months later, Dau is seeing a very different harvest than he saw a year ago – when an early spring and abundant rain early gave way to dry conditions and rapid harvest.
“The potatoes are going but potato growers have been struggling with the mud,” Dau noted. “They don’t want to put that mud into storage facilities because it would potentially lead to some kind of rot.”
The bottom line, said Dau, is that the extra mud leads to extra work for the potato growers.
“The soybean harvest is also under way but it is very spotty, Dau said. “It’s not unusual to see fields where some beans are harvested and others aren’t.”
According to Dau, when the rains returned after a mean mid-summer hot stretch, some portions of the soybean crops in dryland fields began growing again. That was both good and bad for farmers because some portions are ready to be combined and others are not.
“The dryland soybeans are proving a big challenge to handle,” Dau said.
The same summer heat that stunted bean growth in dryland fields turned a lot of the local corn crop into silage. Dau believes farmers went into the season were planning to combine and sell a large amount of the corn they chopped.
“A lot of people started chopping just before the rain,” Dau noted. “There has probably been more chopped corn than usual.”
With the challenges the weather has posed this year, Dau does not look for yields like area farmers saw in 2012 despite some rosy reports from other parts of Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.
Brian Hansel, a reporter for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, contributed to this report.