Minnesota row crop farmers finding harvest slow going

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Some Minnesota row crop producers have been able to finish bringing in their soybeans, while others were in the middle of gathering them when the wet weather called a halt to harvest this week.

Very few have made much progress with their corn crop. And in both grains and oil seeds, producers are seeing high moisture levels, meaning time and expense putting the crop through grain dryers.

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that the 18 major corn producing states have harvested 30 percent of corn, as of October 21, which is 18 percentage points behind last year’s progress. Much of that progress is carried by the southern half of the country, while the Midwest continues to struggle.

In Minnesota, an estimated 11 percent of the corn has been harvested, which is well behind last year when a third of corn was harvested at this time. In the past week, Minnesota farmers gained 6 percentage points in corn harvested.

“We finished soybeans last night, and we’ll resume the corn harvest later this week if the fields aren’t too wet,” said Red Wing area farmer Ryan Buck.

Across the state in Lake Wilson, Bryan Biegler reported that he has finished one third of the soybean harvest, but corn has to wait until it dries down a bit more, with 20-30 percent moisture being reported in the corn across his area. Fit storage moisture is considered to be around 14.5 to 15 percent.

Les Anderson in Cannon Falls also reported not being able to get into the corn yet, with about two-thirds of the soybeans collected before the rain arrived.

In Willmar, Chad Willis reports having to take a different tactic, with soybean moisture too high to harvest.

“We switched to corn. We’re seeing 24 to 25 percent moisture (in the corn),” said Willis—meaning it will need significant drying. Like most farmers in Minnesota, Willis saw wet field conditions this spring that delayed planting. He was still able to plant corn rated to mature at 100 days, which is normal in his area. Willis noted, happily, “We’re seeing good yield though.”

John Mages, a farmer in Belgrade, also reported having finished harvesting soybeans, but needing to wait to get into the corn, and Jerry Demmer, who farms near Clark’s Grove, finished harvesting soybeans, but the latest rain has prevented him from starting on corn.

Asked how significant the weather delays have been, Willis, who still has a good amount of both corn and soybeans to get into the bin, said he is usually close to wrapping up tillage by this time.

“We’re two weeks later than usual,” Mages calculated.

Harold Wolle, who farms near St. James, reported that soybean harvest is almost concluded and he had just begun bringing corn in when the rain arrived. A hail storm over the summer has led to some hit-and-miss yields.

“We harvested one field of corn yesterday,” said Wolle, “Where the hail hit, we got 100 bushels. Where there was no hail, 200 bushels.”

Did you like this article?

Share this post with your friends!