If there was one word to sum up the 2013 planting season it would be late.
Whether it was late planting this spring or late rainfall over the summer, things got off to a slow start as the crops grew.
So, it was only fitting harvest would also be delayed this season when rain this past week kept most farmers in the area out of the fields until Tuesday.
“We are off to a late start, but that is because of the late planting,” said David Nicolai, an agronomy specialist with the U of M Extension Service, who said a recent test plot taken out in a field between Franklin and Fairfax indicated what those who have been able to get in the fields have been seeing.
“The soybean yields were better than expected,” said Nicolai, adding what they saw in the plot was very good – with some yields nearing 60 bushels per acre.
Yields are variable across the area, said Nicolai, adding one can’t really say there is a trend anywhere.
“There is just not a lot of crop that has been taken out yet,” he said, adding when conditions are better he is confident the crops are going to come out of the fields fast.
“We could see some places where corn and soybeans are being taken out simultaneously,” said Nicolai.
According to Pete Valentin of Meadow-land Farmers Cooper-ative in Lamberton, the first yield reports he has heard about soybeans were better than most anticipated – in the 40-50 bushels per acre range.
A lot of the corn still was in the field when Valentin talked about the harvest earlier this week. That is likely to continue as farmers focus on beans.
Above normal temps in September did allow the crop to reach maturity, said Kent Thiesse a farm management analyst. He said some of the later planted corn may need a little while longer to reach the desired moisture content for harvest.
Stalk quality has been a concern in parts of the region, said Thiesse, and strong winds did do some damage to corn fields in the area, but much of that damage was spotty. Weak stalks could pose a challenge for farmers this harvest, and that could result in some switching over to corn to harvest it before most of it breaks.
There is a lot of the season left to go, and Nicolai wanted to encourage the public to watch out for farmers in their combines and hauling equipment during this time of year.
He still believes this crop could yield very good in the end.