Farmers finding crops a little wet, but looking goood

Local farmers were out in full force this past week to take advantage of 5.3 suitable days of field work of that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says has allowed farmers to make significant progress on harvests despite a cold, wet start to the growing season that originally delayed crop development by a week or two. Over at Prairie Grain Partners (PGP) in Clarkfield, Grain Department Manager Jeff Davis says that the elevator has been receiving a quality crop with speed and precision, as indicated by in and out times for grain haulers of 8-10 minutes a pop. “We’ve had a very nice harvest. Traffic has been steady. And we haven’t had a lot of interruptions in regard to mechanical or utility issues––gas or electric,” he said. “The harvest conditions haven’t been bad and overall crop quality and test weights looks nice. Yeah, it’s got a little moisture but it hasn’t been unmanageable.” According to the USDA, the favorable field conditions have allowed farmers to make significant headway on harvests that, as of Tuesday, represented a 91 percent completion of the soybean harvest and 48 percent for corn. Historically speaking, the soybean harvest is three percent ahead of its average, while the corn take is 13 percent behind its annual median of 61 percent. Across the state, the USDA is reporting crop moisture of 21 percent, compared to 13 percent last year. According to Davis, that’s about the level of moisture that elevators are having to contend within the immediate area. As for yields, Davis said that farmers are seeing a quality corn crop with a bushel per acre average about what they were expecting. Soybeans, however, are surpassing early estimates to the tune of about five bushels per acre over that which was expected, he said.. “I think the farmer was pleasantly surprised on their bean yields,” said Davis. “I haven’t heard that same verbage on the corn but I think it’s because they know they were going to get good corn yields; it was just more of a surprise with the beans.” On Monday, Stan Santjer was busy harvesting for the Kenton Johnson managed Prairie View Farms on a location in the vicinity of the city’s Industrial Park. Santjer’s comments echoed Davis’s regarding yield expectations, though Santjer was more specific, estimating a corn yield around 170 bushels per acre and a soybean take around 50 bushels per acre. Of the 1,200 acres under the ownership of Prairie View Farms, Santjer said that all but about three days of work remained. That, however, will likely have to be completed after this week, given expectations of forthcoming precipitation. Compared to the rest of the state and nation, Davis said he expects local farmers to fair better than most. “From a state perspective we’re looking pretty good,” he said. “The southeast part of the state had some planting issues and north of Highway 40, farmers had rougher weather that was either too dry or involved storms. This part of the country, I think we’ve been pretty fortunate. And when all is said and done I think this area is going to represent the state pretty well.”