MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Minnesota farmers are putting harvest on hold after a soggy start to October.
As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities reported 2.53 inches of rain for the month.
The average for all of October is 2.46 inches. Other areas like St. Cloud have seen more than double that amount at 5.75 inches.
Standing in the middle of his 140 acres of soybeans, farmer David Legvold rips a handful of beans off a stalk, breaking them open.
“Kind of a crackle to that,” Legvold said.
That snapping sound is exactly what hopes to hear this time of year. It means his soybeans are drying out and almost ready for harvest, with an emphasis on “almost.”
“I’m playing the waiting game because there are consequences if you go out when the bean plants are too wet,” he said.
Sunshine draped his fields Tuesday, but rain soaked them over the previous 72 hours.
His manual rain gauge showed nearly half an inch of water fell overnight.
Luckily, he didn’t have much standing water, unlike some farmers out west in Renville County who had pools in their fields.
“So far we’ve not had that nice sunny, windy, dry stretch of weather to dry the soybeans down,” Legvold said.
A USDA report states soybean harvest in Minnesota is about 10 days behind the five-year average thanks to the damp fields. Corn harvested for animal feed is nearly a week behind.
“But the key ingredient now is that we need a good, hard frost,” he said.
Legvold says the frost helps his beans dry more quickly, allowing him to harvest hopefully in time to avoid an October snowfall.
If that were to happen, his crops could get flattened. It’s another reminder that even though he farms his land, he’s not the one in charge.
“If you’re a farmer, you need to understand that nature is the boss,” Legvold said.