Dry fall makes for easier harvest

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 10/29/96.

"This is about the nicest fall we've had for harvest," said John VanderBeek, the agronomy department manager at Paynesville Farmers Union Co-op's fertilizer plant.

For the most part, the weather has cooperated with the farmers. The occasional rains have actually been good for farmers, VanderBeek said.

During harvest, the "most dangerous time on a farm," the rains makes the harvesters slow down and take a break. There's "never a tomorrow" during harvest time, VanderBeek said. Farmers are running on two hours of sleep with a "get everything done today" mindset.

This has been a "drug-out" fall, VanderBeek said. Usually, with the time crunch, people are careless and end up getting hurt. So far this fall, he's only heard of two accidents: a farmer on the south side of Lake Koronis caught his arm in machinery, and a silage box was in a traffic accident on Highway 23.

"It was dry coming in" to the harvest season, VanderBeek said. The rain that did come was appreciated.

"It dries up fast," he said. "If it does rain ÷ no big deal."

The weather has cooperated. In past years, the crops have been "mudded out," meaning they were planted in the mud, or mudded in, and harvested in the mud.

Since the weather conditions have cooperated, area farmers are doing work now that will save them time in the spring. Right now, farmers are getting their fieldwork done. They're tilling, which increases next year's yield. They're also getting the fertilizers on the ground. Every day of work in the fall saves two or three days during spring planting, VanderBeek said.

All of the soybean crops are in. These were done in mid-September. Seventy-five percent of the corn crop is harvested.

The soybean yields are higher than predicted, but still not as high as they have been in other years. The corn yields are good. Since the fall has been dry, farmers are also saving time and money on drying costs.

It's been "many years" since all the corn was out of the fields by Nov. 1, but this year, "it's a good possibility," VanderBeek said.

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