Mother Nature making harvest difficult for some growers
Mother Nature has been playing a rather nasty cat-and-mouse game with farmers this year.
Scott Dau of Leaf River Ag Service in Wadena has following nature’s capricious 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.”
Nature’s final hustle is going on right now as local farmers find themselves looking for a killing frost that would start a drying process.
“We usually get our first killing frost around here about Sept. 20 and now we’re in October and there has not yet been a killing frost,” Dau said.
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.