Weather speeds harvest
Harvest of Minnesota's 2010 farm fields virtually was complete by Sunday, well ahead of the normal pace as it's down to just two crops. Meanwhile, North Dakota's gleaning of the percentages of corn and sunflowers should be all but wrapped up by l...
Harvest of Minnesota's 2010 farm fields virtually was complete by Sunday, well ahead of the normal pace as it's down to just two crops.
Meanwhile, North Dakota's gleaning of the percentages of corn and sunflowers should be all but wrapped up by later this week.
Sunday and Monday were sunny, warm and breezy, pushing the harvest even further along and today looks ideal, too. Large piles of corn can be seen outside area grain elevators as rail cars can't get here fast enough.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly survey, 94 percent of the corn and 97 percent of the sunflowers in Minnesota were combined by Sunday.
In North Dakota, 84 percent of the corn and 76 percent of the sunflowers were combined by Sunday. That's very early.
In the five years from 2005-2009, only 58 percent of the corn in North Dakota was harvested by Nov. 7, on average, and last year, only 3 percent was off. Last week, 17 percent of the crop came off the fields.
Sunflowers were only 29 percent harvested by this time a year ago in North Dakota; the five-year average for Nov. 7 is 71 percent. Last week, 24 percent of the crop was harvested.
Minnesota farmers typically have 74 percent of their corn combined by now, and last year only 21 percent by Nov. 7, USDA said. A week ago, 87 percent of the corn harvest was complete.
Temperatures so far this month have been well above average -- 9.4 degrees higher in Grand Forks -- helping to keep the corn dry.
Corn was coming in at 14 percent moisture in Minnesota last week, which is dry enough to store. That amounts to a big savings for farmers who don't have to buy propane to dry the grain.
A small amount of precipitation, not likely to turn into much snow, and cooler temperatures are forecast for Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. But the rest of the week should be dry, although much cooler than the near 60 degrees hit Monday and forecast for today.
Not more than about two-tenths of an inch of rain and maybe some light snow will hit the region, most likely the northern Red River Valley, on Wednesday, the weather service reported.
In both states, the corn yields will be records or near-records, as will the sunflowers in North Dakota. Prices also are high. One cattle producer said it's taking about $6 a bushel -- nearly twice the normal levels -- to buy corn right now for livestock feed, because farmers are willing to store it and wait for higher prices next spring.
Field work is progressing well, with about six days rated good last week and this week shaping up for about the same.
Soil moisture is well above average levels, too, boding well for next spring's planting.
In North Dakopta, 76 percent of the topsoil was rated adequate moisture and 14 percent surplus, while only 10 percent was rated short. The five-year average for this time of year is 5 percent of the topsoil ranked very short of moisture and 22 percent short, while only 65 percent has adequate moisture and 8 percent surplus. So pastures are in excellent condition.
Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .