Growers in many parts of the state are having to be selective on which fields to harvest based on moisture conditions. Many fields are just too wet right now to support harvest equipment and will have to wait for freezing temperatures to firm up the muddy soil. That is an option for corn and soybean growers, but is not a solution for those raising potatoes and sugarbeets.
Traill County is one of those areas with a substantial acreage of both spuds and sugarbeets, according to county Extension agent Alyssa Scheve, with potatoes being the biggest concern for growers right now.
“Potatoes are definitely more sensitive to prolonged periods of time in the soil,” Scheve said. “That is something of a concern for our area. We do have quite a bit of potato acres in the county. Sugarbeets are a little hardier to those conditions, but we still would prefer to get those out in a timely matter.”
One thing that is not needed is a severe cold snap that would cause freezing ground conditions, which could ultimately be determinantal to the harvest of those two crops, she noted.
Some sunflowers fields growing in the area received heavy damage from the snowfall last month.
“The sunflowers were knocked down by the heavy, wet snow and now the birds are eating those pretty good,” she noted. “The sunflowers definitely took the hardest hit from the snow storm.”
As far as other crops in the area, some progress has been made in the dry bean harvest, when weather permits, but there is some quality issues due to staining that brings about market challenges.
Just a few acres of soybeans have come off as of Oct. 30, and no corn has been harvested yet.
Looking down the road, Scheve said it is possible we could be looking at some of the soybeans and corn not being harvested this fall, but rather next spring.
Farmers have been fortunate that the snow received earlier in mid-October melted off rather quickly, although in some areas it took more than a week to accomplish.
“Between that snow and the already over-saturated soils, people hope to get off what they can, but there will be crops left in the field, I just don’t know how much,” she said. “Spring harvested corn crops will result in a lot of residue that they won’t have a lot of time to manage. We always hope to get a crop harvested the same year it was planted, but Mother Nature doesn’t always have it planned out that way. It has definitely been an interesting growing year.”
Livestock and range conditions
Livestock producers in the Traill County area had a good pasture conditions this year due to the frequent rains. However, there is lots of hay out in the fields that has yet to be hauled home yet.
“Producers are waiting until those fields are firmed up a little bit, either due to frost or drying out, so they can haul that hay home,” Scheve noted. “There is a lot to do with the limited daylight hours we are now seeing.”
Most of the producers were able to get their herds home or into sheltered areas before the storm hit.