Danny Brandt, Gus

Danny and Gus Brandt, August 2020

ADA, Minn. – The harvest season is a long one at Brandt Farms, so Glen and Danny Brandt prepare for any weather event that could slow down their progress.

The father-son team owns a combine with tracks that has gotten them through a lot of soggy situations.

“We traded for this combine with factory tracks three years ago,” said Danny on Aug. 18, as he combined wheat following 6-plus inches of rain from a few days earlier. “We were so impressed back then. Eventually it’s my goal to have two track combines.”

Forecasts had called for heavy rain on Aug. 14-15 in Norman County. The Brandts were all caught up with wheat harvest and had applied pre-harvest glyphosate to a field about 4 miles north of the main farm. They have to wait three days to harvest following the application.

On Aug. 13-14, Danny was cleaning out some ditches with the scraper and he could see the clouds building. From that set of clouds, they only received a few tenths to half an inch. The big rain for them was coming Saturday, Aug. 15.

“It started raining and that’s when we got up to 3 inches of rain,” he said. “Then we went up north (about 2 miles) and that where we got twice as much as we did here.”

“The water came up so fast through a lot of different areas where I’ve never seen the water move across before,” he continued. “There is a lot of lush vegetation in some of these drainage ditches that slow the water down – like it’s supposed to – but the water is finding new ways to move across. We have some minor fixing to keep the water back in the channel where it’s supposed to be.”

When they couldn’t get in the fields, they worked on winterizing one of the sprayers. They drained everything, blew out the lines and let tank cleaner sit overnight. Then 55 gallons of antifreeze were run through the system before the sprayer was stored away for the winter.

Wheat harvest started on Monday, Aug. 17. There was a little lodging, but it wasn’t bad. Danny kept the tracked combine header up to avoid pooled water in the field. It was really kind of amazing the field produced at all. Planted to corn last year, the field looked like it was going to be prevented plant this year. They were able to get it planted to wheat and yields were acceptable.

As of Danny’s report on Aug. 18, there were still 300 acres of wheat left to harvest, and there was no time to waste.

The Brandts signed up for the pre-pile sugarbeet harvest with their cooperative, American Crystal Sugar. That harvest began on Aug. 18. They were going to deliver sugarbeets to three receiving stations beginning Aug. 24. Some will go to Ada West, some to Scandia (south of Crookston) and the majority will go to Ada North.

“We can move a lot of beets in a short amount of time, but the freight charge is unusually high,” Danny remarked.

There was likely to be some overlap with wheat harvest and sugarbeet pre-pile harvest. The Brandts were confident the crew of family and friends would get the work done.

Following sugarbeet pre-pile harvest, Danny hoped the soybeans would be dried down and ready to harvest. Then it was on to the main sugarbeet harvest scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

Corn harvest wasn’t really on anyone’s mind yet. They didn’t have a problem with leaving the corn in the field to combine in March – if the weather doesn’t cooperate later this fall.

“It’s relatively cheap storage,” Danny said.

With harvest heating up, the Brandts focused on bringing in the best crop possible and storing it away successfully. Selling the crops at profitable levels was part of the job all year long.

0828 Danny and Gus Brandt.jpg – Gus and Danny Brandt combining wheat. Photo by Rachel Brandt.