The 2011 crop season has been a challenging one to say the least.

What started out with flooding that kept farmers out of the field turned to damaging storms in July, followed by excessive heat and drought.

The last thing the crops needed, said many experts, was an early frost, and that is exactly what happened. During the early morning hours of Sept. 15, temperatures in the area dropped well below freezing in the area. Some temps as low as 27 were reported.

“This is definitely another setback,”?said Byron Hogberg, Renville County FSA director. “This has been a tough year.”

 

The 2011 crop season has been a challenging one to say the least. What started out with flooding that kept farmers out of the field turned to damaging storms in July, followed by excessive heat and drought. The last thing the crops needed, said many experts, was an early frost, and that is exactly what happened. During the early morning hours of Sept. 15, temperatures in the area dropped well below freezing in the area. Some temps as low as 27 were reported. “This is definitely another setback,”?said Byron Hogberg, Renville County FSA director. “This has been a tough year.” The frost that hit the area in mid-September came about two or three weeks earlier than normal, and with much of the soybean crop planted late because of the May and June flooding, those soybeans not yet at maturity are going to be hit the hardest by the cold spell. “The beans are going to be hurt the worst,”?said Hogberg, adding he knows there were still a lot of green pods still on the plants in the area. Hogberg said a small percentage of beans had reached maturity. Those beans should not be significantly im-pacted by the frost. Ben Fast, Redwood County FSA director, said he has had the chance to talk with a few farmers who told him they are expecting anywhere form a 5-20 percent loss in their soybeans this season based on where the plants were in their development. “This has been such a crazy year,”?said Fast, adding the county is currently classified as in extreme drought. The corn, which was much farther along in development should fare better, but other stressors have not helped in its development, either, said Fast. Hogberg said the sugar beet crop is not as hard hit. In fact, sugar beets are a much heartier crop and can handle the colder weather. The colder weather in some cases can also be a benefit to sugar beets as it helps to improve sugar content. Despite that good news for sugar beet farmers, that crop like others in the region are looking at much lower yields than have been seen in recent years. This is going to be one of those seasons where harvest is not going to break any records, and in fact could be significantly lower in some areas than it has been. Both Hogberg and Fast said they anticipate farmers are going to be in the fields very soon, adding those beans that did get in early are going to be ready quickly if they are not already. Fast said he anticipates some of the producers are going to likely get in to the corn before the beans, with some concerned about the stand because of all of the weather stress put on the crop. “I?would think by the first week in October they will be in full-scale harvest,”?said Fast. There are some concerns about those who saw good to excellent crops in July may have projected better yields and may not be able to fill their grain contracts. The crops in the area have been tested this season, and how it all comes out in the end is yet to be seen. However, most are not very optimistic. At least, some have said, the crop insurance is good this year. That may be the only saving grace in 2011.