By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Above average rain fall has slowed harvest in many areas of the state. Heavy rains forced farmers inside last week. There were only 3 suitable days for fieldwork because the ground is so wet.

Now, the pressure is on to get the crops in before the water destroys them. Still, farmers in Waseca County are doing much in spite of the saturated ground.

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Thunderstorms brought that heavy rainfall to parts of central and southern Minnesota leaving some farmers with flooded corn and soybean fields. Although many see this season as good for crops, wet and flooded fields make harvesting tougher than usual.

Brian Weller is lead agronomist with Central Farm Service in Owatanna.

“We’ve got some fields where its going to take a couple of weeks for the water to subside in order to get the combines rolling,” he said. “We’re roughly anywhere from 10 days to two weeks ahead of normal, and this corn definitely needs to be combined.”

Weller says the growing season has been great, and farmers are doing what they can to make sure the saturated ground won’t stop the harvest. For farmer Bob Hanson, the trick is getting around the ponds that sit in his field to get at the corn.

“It’s a little messy out here, but we’ve go tot start sooner than later,” he said. “We just come out here to try it, and if we see standing water we’re going to have to avoid it in lots of spots this fall, and probably come back later to get it.”

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Hanson’s combine uses tracks, making it easier to get around in the muddy field. The wet ground also makes it tough to move their product out.

“They had 14 inches of rain in Waseca here last week, and it’s fully saturated and hard to get out of the field,” farmer Caleb Kottke said.

The USDA says Minnesota’s soybean harvest is five days behind last year because of all the rain. Soaked soybean fields in Waseca county may yield very little because of what mother nature has put it through.

“They’ve been through a frost,” Amy Heintz of the Central Farm Service said. “They’ve had a lot of strong winds this summer there is a lot of disease pressure because of all the moisture.”

Even with these challenges farmers expect this year’s crop to be good.

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Another concern is mold. Some farmers started seeing some mold about two weeks ago, but once it’s harvested and hits the combine’s drier it should be okay.

Reg Chapman