Fall weather brings harvest to a halt across MN

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The majority of Minnesota’s corn crop—75 percent—has been rated good to excellent in the latest National Agricultural Statistics Service report (October 15), and the crop is ahead of average for maturity by this date—97 percent mature, compared to 90 percent average over the previous five years.

But a scant 1.1 days last week were suitable for field work, and crop progress reflects the challenges imposed by cold, wet weather—only 18 percent of the corn crop has been harvested—an advance of only three percent over last week.

“We were ahead by about three weeks at the first of September and it looked like we were going to be done by the first of October, but now it looks like we are going to be right back to the usual schedule or even a bit later,” reported Blair Hoseth who farms near Mahnomen, about fifty miles northeast of Fargo. Corn harvest usually wraps up there around Thanksgiving.

Another concern in the northwest region are losses due to corn borer. With weak markets, numerous growers decided to forgo the more expensive stacked GMO protections and grow conventional corn.

“We’ve been getting by with it for a few years up here because we haven’t had much corn borer, but this year they hit hard,” Hoseth said. “I’ve been getting calls from neighbors who want me to rake and bale fields where they’ve got downed corn.”

Jerry Demmer, who farms near Albert Lea, reports that they have gotten about 40 percent of their soybeans harvested and have just begun picking corn.

Kirby Hettver, a farmer in De Graff, said wet weather has brought an unwelcome break of about a week, and just on Monday afternoon things had dried enough to get back to work.

Les Anderson, who farms near Cannon Falls, said snow that came on Sunday brought harvest activity to a halt, but he said they resumed Monday afternoon.

“Just a little bit of snow seems to be equivalent to a half inch of rain. The snow kept coming, so we had to quit,” Anderson said. “But even though it’s cold, the sun is out and that’s a huge advantage with getting things moving again.”

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