Tom and Nathan Haag weren’t able to fight the cold of spring and muddy conditions of summer and fall.
Tom Haag, board member for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, and his son, Nathan, grow soybeans and corn on their 1,600 acres of farmland in the Eden Valley area. Since the weather was uncooperative, fall harvest was delayed.
“We finished harvesting soybeans last night,” Tom Haag said Friday. “And the problem we ran into on our soybeans this year — along with other farmers in the area — everything was delayed two to three weeks in springtime. Harvest was also delayed two to three weeks in fall. If we would have had a warmer summer, that would have helped the crop mature quicker.”
An example of the trouble wet conditions created — the Haags’ soybeans were 18 percent moisture off the ground, while 13 percent is ideal.
According to Minnesota Crop Progress and Condition report provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Oct. 28, 96 percent of the state’s corn crop was mature, but 20 days later than last year and nine days behind the normal. Harvested corn for grain reached 22 percent, 11 days behind last year and 12 days behind the average. Sixty-two percent of the soybean crop was harvested, six days later than last year and two weeks behind the average.
“We’ve harvested 140 acres of corn, so far,” Haag said. “We still got a few weeks to go still. The moisture in the corn is higher this year than the last few years. So that means you’re bringing corn with higher moisture, and corn needs to be at 15 percent in order to sell it at no dockage. So we’re bringing in corn 23 to 27 percent. It takes longer to go through the drier, that slows harvesting operation down also.”
Brian Thalmann of Plato, former president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, said if the weather had been friendly, planting would have begun the second week of April. But the real work didn’t occur until the first week of May. Thalmann owns and operates 2,000 acres of farmland southeast of Glencoe.
“Even though we did go to the field, we had wet weather,” Thalmann said. “There was just a short window of time. Second half of May was extremely wet. We weren’t able to work until first half of June. This was the first Minnesota State Fair in 10 years where the daily high temperature never got above 80 degrees.”
Chances for satisfactory crop growth diminished due to lack of sufficient heat, Thalmann added.
“The crops finally matured in October, but it was behind,” he said.
Travis Magoon, location manager of United Farmers Cooperative in Litchfield, said soybeans should be completed, but they’re still a week behind.
“It’s a hurry-up-and-wait game,” Magoon said. “It’s a horrific fall.”
UFC purchases grain from farmers and eventually sells to end-users.
“Right now, we’re working overtime, but it’s not productive,” Magoon said. “It’s not busy enough to support overtime. We’re just trying to accommodate for the farmers. So you got wages going out. When it’s not productive, sometimes you got to send some (employees) home.”
“The delays affect you financially, because there are other things going on,” Haag said. “We want to make sure to think positive, get done with harvest before harsh winter season where you can get crops out. In a farmer’s mind, you got to get things done and keep working on it every day to get it.”