Harvest is ahead of schedule this year, according to the USDA National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), as combines were in the field ahead of the five-year average.
While there are a few reasons why the crops are being taken out early, the primary reason, most experts agree, is due to the dry conditions which pushed crop development ahead of the norm.
The weekly USDA crop report, which was released Monday, revealed 96 percent of Minnesota’s corn crop was in the dent stage, while the average for this time of the year is closer to 75 percent.
The report states as of Monday approximately 2 percent of the corn crop had been harvested, which is compared to 0 percent for the five year average, with soybean harvest also at 2 percent for this season.
According to Pete Valentin of Meadow-land Farmers Cooper-ative in Lamberton, most of the farmers in the southern end of the county are just getting started with harvest.
Valentin said he has not heard a lot of reports yet, but said what he has heard about the corn is yields have been variable.
Valentin said moisture is going to play a big role in this year’s results, as he anticipates some yields in the low 100s per acre, with others in the 200s all depending on whether or not a field got the timely rains.
In other words, the 2012 crop is not going to break any records.
In fact, Valentin suspects the overall yield to be in the 140-50 bushels per acre area.
One of the big concerns in the Redwood Falls area is the corn blown down by the high winds which hit Aug. 1.
Many of those fields are going to be tough to harvest, with much done by single passes.
What that means is farmers are only able to harvest their corn traveling in one direction, which also means spending a lot more on fuel to get the job done.
While some soybeans have been harvested, Valentin said he thinks within the next week or so, those who have been harvesting corn are going to put that on hold to get the beans out.
Ben Fast, Redwood County FSA director, said he has also heard variable reports, add-ing some of the corn coming out is pretty dry (around 15 percent), while other corn is 25 percent moisture.
Fast also said he has heard some farmers want to get their corn out because they are concerned about stalk strength.
Reports in Renville County are similar, and Kevin Beekman, Renville County FSA director, said those areas where the moisture was more prevalent could have some pretty good yields.
He also said reports about the sugar beet crop look to be excellent this year.