August 26, 2009

Harvest on hold

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

After a rough harvest last year, area farmers are just happy they have something to harvest. Now they just need the weather to cooperate and let them get into their fields.
“Just as harvest started, it rained, pushing things back a week,” says Dale Naze, NDSU Extension agent. “We expected things to really take off this past weekend and they did get going. But then it rained again, pushing us back another week.”
Even with harvest running behind, Naze expects yields to be above average or at the least average.
“We started late and we are finishing late,” adds Naze. “That’s just how it goes with farming. Everything is dependent on the weather.”
At this point, Naze isn’t real concerned with harvest running late, other than the rain causing the durum to lose some quality due to bleaching.
“Things are slow, really slow,” says Phillip Moen, Arnegard farmer. “We have the peas almost done and had the durum knocked down when it started raining, so it got bleached and lost some weight, but it will be alright.”
While small grains are doing well with the cool weather, row crops need more heat to produce top quality crops. So an extended fall growing season is needed to get them to full potential.
“Some years you just have a cool summer and things get behind,” adds Naze. “This is that year.”
Although this harvest is not ideal, it is still much better than what farmers were faced with last year.
“Prices are sliding and soft. We would really like to see them stabilize,” says Naze. “But, we are still thankful that there is a crop to harvest, unlike last year when the prices were good, but the crop was either bad or not there at all.”
This year’s cool weather and late harvest aren’t limited to McKenzie County. With exception to the far west corner of the county, which is still suffering from drought conditions, similar issues with cool weather and rain are being seen statewide.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a good crop like this year,” adds Moen. “The weather has slowed things, but I’m not really concerned, as long as we get things harvested before pheasant season. We always get the crop in eventually.”
Naze expects that area farmers will be swathing more than average and putting more of their crops into air bins because of this year’s weather. But he expects that once the fields get harvested things will look good.
“We are still looking at a good harvest,” says Naze. “There are concerns associated with a late harvest, but we aren’t there yet, and I don’t expect us to reach that point.”