Late season harvest ahead

A field of corn waits to be harvested northwest of Minot. Yields are expected to vary considerably due to predominantly dry conditions that prevailed throughout the summer over much of the Minot area. Kim Fundingsland/MDN

As of the last week in September the harvesting of late season crops was just beginning. While the harvest of sunflowers and corn generally doesn’t get under way until cooperative days in October, the soybean harvest got off to a rough start.

“It was a slow start for those guys,” said Jeremy Burkhart, project manager, CHS SunPrairie Grain of Minot.

Burkhart was referring to rainy, wet conditions at the start of the traditional harvest. It was an odd contrast to dry and drought conditions that plagued the region during the spring and summer months. However, some spotty rains were very beneficial to those soybean growers fortunate enough to receive them.

“The yield on beans? I’d guess anywhere from 15 to 35 bushels,” said Burkhart. “There were areas that didn’t get any rain. The yield is dependent on those pockets that did.”

Burkhart said it is kind of hard to estimate what the sunflower crop will yield this year. Some of the sunflowers “look pretty decent,” according to Burkhart. However, he noted, the fall influx of blackbirds can make a difference on yields.

“We do know that some areas are really bad and those guys will possibly be chopping it,” said Burkhart.

The early word from the Willow City area is somewhat better than what is being reported in much of the Minot region. David Hanson, manager of the Rugby Farmers Elevator of Willow City, says he thinks the corn crop in his area looks pretty good.

“It is starting to dry down on its own. I think the weight will be pretty fair,” said Hanson.

The corn harvest will probably not get started in earnest until after the first frost. As for sunflowers, there’s not many in the fields near Willow City where blackbirds often cut into yields. Instead, says Hanson, some farmers have opted to replace their corn with soybeans.

“There’s a lot of soybeans up here. They are just getting started with the harvest,” said Hanson. “From the few samples I’ve seen they look pretty good and the weight is pretty fair.”

Hanson added that he expected the overall soybean harvest to be “all over the place.”

“Some look good and some don’t look so good,” said Hanson. “It all depends on the moisture. It was kinda’ dry through most of July and then picked up some and pulled the crops through.”