Wadena area farmers bringing in good yields
Rain in August helped Wadena area farmers bring in good yields this fall, according to Leaf River Ag agronomist Ron Schertler. The soybean harvest is about 70 percent complete and the yields are in the 60s, he said. "That's very, very good," Sche...
Rain in August helped Wadena area farmers bring in good yields this fall, according to Leaf River Ag agronomist Ron Schertler.
The soybean harvest is about 70 percent complete and the yields are in the 60s, he said.
"That's very, very good," Schertler said. "And on irrigated dry land around here where we'll see maybe 25 bushel yields on this sandy ground, they are in the mid- to upper 50s. It's almost unheard of."
The high yields can be attributed to the rain in August, Schertler said. Typically there isn't much rainfall around that time.
"That's when soybeans are filling their pods and they just never ran out of moisture so it was great for putting the yield on," he added.
Big yields are also being seen for corn silage, Schertler said.
"As far as tonnage for silage there was a lot of 25-30 ton silage so I expect that the grain yields will also be good," he said. "We did weigh some irrigated corn last Friday and it was a 216 bushel north of New York Mills."
Schertler expects the corn to be equally good to the soybeans. Overall, the harvest is much better than in 2015.
"I think irrigated corn numbers will be fairly equal to last year but I think the dry land corn yields will be up significantly," he said.
Potato harvest is wrapping up for the 2016 season as well.
Wayne Warmbold, regional manager of RDO Farms in Park Rapids, said the harvest was about 90 percent complete and the crop should was expected to be in storage by end of day Sunday.
Warmbold said crews were limited to half days at times this the harvest season due to the warm weather but overall potato harvest went very well.
A crew finished digging a potato field near Hubbard on Thursday as Warmbold and agronomist Nick David pointed out some of RDO's sustainable farming methods implemented on the farm.
RDO continues an effort to scale back on the use of pesticides by implementing practices to best preserve the soil. The company planted about 1,500 acres of the cover crop mustard last year to, among other things, cut down on wind erosion.
Mustard serves as one of the company's cover crops and the plants will be ground into the field to create a biomass mixture or "green manure" which benefits the soil for planting potatoes next spring. Mustard is pungent and suppresses soil borne insects and pathogens that attack potatoes. Added benefits of planting cover crops like mustard and rye include nutrient cycling in the soil, which leads to less pesticide and fertilizer application, David explained. The crop also serves as a pollinator for bees.
Rye is planted immediately following potato harvest and quickly germinates. Rye is a strong, deep-rooted plant that survives the winter and acts as wind control on the fields.
"Rye prevents a lot of the nitrogen from leaving the soil and going into the aquifer," David said. "The better we are at growing the rye crop the better it is for the aquifer."
RDO plants peas which, as David explains, are good for the soil because they create their own nitrogen. It's an early planted, early harvested crop and the field is then planted with a green manure cover crop incorporated back into the soil. The short-season crop is part of a crop rotation that also includes corn, wheat and dried beans, along with the potatoes.
RDO also planted 180 acres of wildflower seeds to attract pollinators, including Monarch butterflies and honeybees as part of a program called Operation Pollinator.
Forum News Service reporter Kevin Cederstrom contributed to this report.