Farmers concerned about wet weather and harvest season

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2018

WORTHINGTON — Rain has put the Minnesota harvest behind schedule, making for a nerve-wracking fall for state farmers who are concerned the weather will damage crops.

Rain can damage crops in the field by causing mold or structural problems, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Parts of Minnesota have seen more than 10 inches of rain fall in the last six weeks.

“It’s a very nerve-wracking time of year right now with this delayed harvest,” said Jim Gill, a crop consultant in the Northfield area.

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The wet weather has affected the soybean harvest the most. Farmers like to pick the delicate crop first because the plant’s pods can pop open and the beans could fall to the ground if they’re left in the field for too long.

Michael Wojahn, who farms in southwest Minnesota, said he hasn’t started harvesting soybeans because they’re not yet mature. Instead, he is harvesting corn.

He said the wet weather has prevented the corn kernels from drying in the field, so he has to dry the corn with propane gas before storing it, otherwise the crop could rot.

“The corn crop now at this point has started to get a lot of stalk rot,” Gill said. “Which was promoted by a humid, humid, wet late August and September. So the viability of the corn stalks right now is starting to diminish daily.”

Weather forecasts indicate that the state may see dryer conditions next week, which means farmers will harvest non-stop, said South Central College agriculture dean Brad Schloesser.

“When it does dry out, we’re able to put an awful lot of harvest activity under way,” said Schloesser. “And see that crop get harvested and put into storage very rapidly.”

Farmers are racing to harvest as much crop before the winter weather and snow stop harvesting activity.