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It’s A ‘Rush Hour’ Harvest With Crops Behind

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It has been a challenging year for Minnesota farmers.

Many got their crops in late, dealt with dry conditions in August, and are now working in wet fields this fall.

You may remember that some parts of the state got more than a foot of snow in early May, which is prime planting time for farmers.

That set many back, and some didn’t get a crop in at all.

“The corn is standing, the wind is blowing — it’s a good day for picking,” said Joe Marthaler.

Marthaler, a Dakota County farmer, is driving in rush hour. At least, that’s what it’s called when you’re rushing to get your corn harvested after a very late start.

“I’ve never seen snow in mid-May, where you wake up and there are three to four inches of snow on the ground and it’s planting season,” he said.

Marthaler is lucky that he got all his corn in. The wet, snowy spring set back some farmers in southeastern Minnesota to the point they never planted a corn crop. Many are relying on crop insurance now, where the profit is only about 60 percent of what a normal harvest would be.

“You could call this the season of extremes. And talk on the word ‘variability’ with that,” said Dave
Nicolai of the University of Minnesota Extension.

Last year at this time, 95 percent of the corn was already harvested. This year, in some parts of the state, Nicolai said it stands at just 50 percent. Soybeans are also a little behind.

“Typically we like to be done with the soybean harvest late-September, early October, and we’re just at that point right now,” Nicolai said.

If Mother Nature cooperates, rush hour will be a breeze. But even so, this harvest probably won’t be a record-breaker.

“I really don’t look for a record crop in the state given the curves that Mother Nature threw at us in terms of late planting, dry conditions, or prevent planting where they weren’t able to plant at all,” Nicolai said. “So, you add all the acres across Minnesota together and it’s a situation we are going to be dealing with.”

Nicolai said the cooler weather doesn’t help with the corn harvest. Also, many farmers have to dry their corn and that costs money as well.

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