Farmfest 2019 Jamie Beyer

MSGA President Jamie Beyer, MSGA Executive Director Joe Smentek and Speaker Melissa Hortman conversed on weed control issues during Farmfest 2019. Submitted photo.

WHEATON, Minn. – It’s already time for motorists to watch for harvesting equipment and trucks hauling commodities on the roads.

“We are going to start the sugarbeet pre-pile today, which is exciting,” said Rodd Beyer on Aug. 20. “It’s just a chance to go in and take off some headlands and get the fields opened up, so when Oct. 1 comes around and our main harvest starts, it should be a lot faster.”

Pre-pile harvest occurs at all three of the local sugar cooperatives – Minn-Dak, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Coop and American Crystal Sugar. It gives the factories a chance to get everything working well.

Rodd said some of his sugarbeets were small, but other fields were good. He’s hoping for a lot of growth and sugar development before Oct. 1.

Sugarbeets require a three-year crop rotation, and that’s made signing up for Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments interesting for the Beyers. USDA picks the minimum number of acres planted per county for 2018 or 2019 as the basis for payment. The Beyers run farmland in both South Dakota and Minnesota to maintain their rotation, and that will exclude them from qualifying for some payments.

The first MFP payment, which will be half of the qualifying amount, must be sent out 30 days after signup. Growers are waiting to have checks in hand before counting on it, said Jamie Beyer.

“People are confused about it still, so until you see the check, it’s hard to believe,” she said.

As president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA), Jamie met recently with officials and legislators to voice concerns and answer questions. She met the Minn. Speaker of the House of Representatives Melissa Hortman, D-36B, at Farmfest. Hortman represents portions of Anoka and Hennepin Counties. She also met the new University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel and Troy Daniels, USDA NRCS State Conservationist.

Jamie is looking forward to continuing her work with the MSGA, but leaders like herself will rely on MSGA office staff during harvest.

“This time of year, everyone wants to talk to a farmer, but it’s the worst time to talk to us,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Rodd estimates corn harvest will begin in mid- to late October. As of Aug. 20, the corn was about a week to 10 days away from denting. It will take another 25 days after that to reach black layer and about 35 percent moisture.

“If you want to get that down another 10 points, it might take 2-3 weeks, so about Oct. 20 would be a goal to start harvesting corn,” he said. “That is a long way out and everything has to go right.”

Rodd sprayed for European corn borer after seeing pressure in the fields.

Rainfall had been just about perfect – about a half-inch every four days. The alfalfa stood knee high and was ready for another cutting. The soybeans had lots of new blossoms and tons of pods that needed filling.

“The soybeans are always hard to predict what the final yield will be, and as I walked through the fields yesterday, there is a lot of chewing probably from the cabbage looper and the thistle caterpillar,” Rodd said. “I still have not seen an aphid.”

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