For the sixth week in a row, temperatures were above normal, according to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service. The departure from the average allowed farmers to get into the fields and get a good start on their soybean harvest.
The unusual warmth, together with lots of sunshine and little rainfall, provided exceptionally good field-drying and harvesting conditions of the late-season crops.
Paynesville area farmers took advantage of the warm temperatures last week to get into the fields. On Sunday, the weather changed and rained all day with temperatures dropping. On Monday, Oct. 13, frost and snow were in the forecast for many parts of the state.
Jeff Ampe, east of Paynesville, said the corn was running good and the harvest was better than expected. His corn yields have averaged 129 bushels to the acre. The moisture content on his 90-day corn averaged 19 percent while the rest of the corn tested at 24 percent moisture. ďNot too bad considering the season weíve had,Ē he said. Ampe, like many area farmers, is waiting for the first hard freeze to kill the corn stalks that are still green.
ďThe frost will help dry down the corn further,Ē David Schrupp, who farms south of Paynesville, said. ďMany farmers are wrapping up the soybean harvest and are just starting corn. Yields are looking good.Ē
Roger Bagley at the Regal Elevator said the corn yields are being reported anywhere from 145 to 170 bushels per acre. The soybeans harvested averaged 35 to 54 bushels per acre. Bagley felt the bean harvest in the Paynesville area was about 92 percent completed while the corn is just getting under way.
ďIdeal moisture levels for storing corn is 25 percent for ear corn and 15 percent for shell corn. Corn brought into the elevator has been averaging 27 percent,Ē Bagley added. ďA good hard freeze will help lower the moisture levels.Ē
Dan Martin, Benton County Crop Specialist, said most farmers in the region have wrapped up the soybean harvest and are through cutting corn silage. Many are awaiting a good hard frost to kill back the weeds to make harvesting corn easier.
ďThe frost would be welcomed by most farmers at this point. Some have their last cutting of alfalfa to cut yet and need that frost to stop any regrowth,Ē Martin said. ďGenerally a good frost helps shut down the growing season. At this point, all the corn has reached maturity and itís just a matter of drying down the corn.Ē
Martin stressed a lot of corn was knocked down last week due to the strong winds which gusted anywhere from 10 to 40 miles per hour.
ďWith the rains in September, many farmers thought they were in for a wet harvest. However, the rains did not continue and the warm temperatures dried out the fields making for ideal harvest conditions,Ē Martin added.
As of Oct. 6, soybeans have reached maturity on an estimated 95 percent of the area, 18 percentage points ahead of last year. Soybeans harvested gained 55 percent during the week, putting the harvest ahead of last year and ahead of the five-year average.
Some of the beans have dried down to 10 percent or less, which is too dry to avoid harvest losses in some cases.
Corn is 92 percent mature versus 81 percent a year ago. Harvest progress is at six percent which equals 1996 and the five-year average. Moisture content of corn for grain being harvested was at 25 percent compared to 29 percent last year.
In the southwest and south central part of the state, some corn is coming in under 15 percent moisture levels. Cutting of corn silage is 90 percent complete.
Corn borer damage to corn plants is showing up in scattered fields in many areas, but most prominently in the southwest district. Some ear droppage has already occurred. Producers with corn borer in their fields are generally expected to proceed quickly with harvest to minimize preharvest losses. Windy weather conditions last week did not help fields where corn borers are present.
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