Stop the average farmer on the street this fall and ask them how this year’s crops have been, and that will likely be their answer.
Heavy rains in the summer slowed or prevented growth, with other weather issues including hail and high winds also creating havoc in the fields across Redwood County.
In an industry that is so weather dependent, the skies were not good to farmers this year, and it is showing up in the yields this fall.
According to the Oct. 22, 2018 USDA crop progress report, 35 percent of the corn had been harvested, which is equal to the national average. The USDA reports the corn crop condition as of Oct. 22 is good to excellent.
The report adds as of Oct. 21 62 percent of the soybean crop statewide has been harvested, which is well below the national average of 87 percent for this time of the year. The soybean crop rating according to the USDA progress report was 72 percent good to excellent. A progress report is provided weekly each Monday afternoon.
With another week of harvest now complete, the majority of the soybean crop has been harvested (approximately 95 percent locally), and more than half of the corn crop has been taken out of the fields.
With cooperative weather, the rest of the corn crop should be harvested by the end of this week.
The good news for farmers is that the moisture content for corn has been low, with much of the corn in the middle teens range.
The story in Redwood County is a little different, as yield reports for both corn and soybeans are both far below what farmers have come to expect in recent years.
One year ago, many farmers were reporting corn yields above 200 bushels per acre.
Pete Valentin of Meadowland Farmers Cooperative in Lamberton said overall the corn yields are about 10 percent less than one season ago.
While the 2017 crop was one for the record books, those looking back on the past few years are considering the 2018 season to be one of the worst they have experienced. Soybeans have not fared any better.
Kurt Soupir of Farmward Cooperative in Morgan said beans yields are in the 40-50 bushel range, adding they are on average 10-15 percent lower compared to harvest in 2017.
As is the case each year yields are variable based on the weather. When the crop reports come in, some farmers have been reporting good yields in various spots of their operation, but with so many drowned out spots, where the yield is zero, the overall numbers are well below the average.
Those wet spots may also hamper fall tillage and fertilizer application.
There is still plenty of work to be done this fall as it relates to harvest, and the public is reminded to watch for equipment on the roadways and to give those driving that equipment the space they need.