WHEATON, Minn. – Rainfall, crop moisture and tracks on equipment were all topics on farmer’s minds as the calendar turned to October, said Rodd Beyer in an Oct. 1 interview.
The Beyers raise corn, soybeans, sugarbeets and alfalfa in Traverse County (Minn.).
“We had another 0.6-1-inch of rain on Sept. 28,” he said. “It was wet before that, and now it’s really wet. How are we going to get this crop out? It looks like there are several chances of rain over the next few days.
“As soon as things dry up, most people are going to be into soybean harvest full-time,” he continued. “We all might have some later maturing beans that are not ripe today, but by the time we are done with our early maturity beans, the late maturity beans will be ready to go. We all want to get started and get it over with before it rains anymore.”
In late September, Rodd and his crew managed to combine 100 acres of soybeans that yielded very well – in the low 60s. Moisture was just 11 percent – a big surprise. Despite this tremendous yield on a good-looking soybean crop, there are many fields with white mold and drown-out issues ahead. It was a fantastic way to start harvest and offered hope for what has been a very difficult growing season.
Some green soybean leaves and stems wrapped around the combine header, but that didn’t stop the Beyers. Rodd thought maybe the use of fungicides kept the soybean plants growing a bit longer even though the pods were fully mature.
Corn was rapidly drying out too, he said. Three large dairies contract with local farmers to chop corn silage on their farmland. The tonnage was acceptable, but the choppers had difficulty getting through the muddy fields – even as the corn naturally dried down.
Both Rodd and his neighbor tested the grain moisture level in their cornfields – it was 28-35 percent.
“We can start (corn for grain) harvest at 25 percent or less without problems, and I am not too worried about frost at this point,” he said. “Frost could do a little damage on the testweight and yield, but for all the days we spent this summer worrying if our crop was going to make it or not before the frost hit, it is very relieving to know at this point the end is in sight and it looks like we are going to get most of it.”
The Beyers’ regular sugarbeet harvest was scheduled to begin on Friday, Oct. 4, depending on field conditions. They had friends who planned to use their vacation time to drive truck and help with harvest. It was hard to tell people what dates to take off from their regular jobs because of the frequent rain. With the frequent rainstorms, Rodd just didn’t know when the operation would be forced to shut down, or when it would be better to wait another day to save on the equipment, the crops and the soil structure.
Kip Norton and Paul Sprengeler, members of the Beyer crew, hauled the last of the 2018 corn to the elevator. They also completed maintenance on trucks and fall tillage equipment.
While the crew worked on those projects, Rodd spent five or six days working on a ditching project for a new tract of land that he and Jamie just purchased. It is a fixer-upper piece. He’s already applied for permits and talked with a tiling company about installing pattern tile ahead of next year’s planting season.
He didn’t go to the farmland auction thinking he was going to buy, but when he got there he put up his hand and got the bid.
“I was there just to get a feeling for the market, because I’m looking at a couple other pieces. I really felt the price was right,” he said. “So far I have not been second guessing it. There hasn’t been any buyer’s remorse yet.”
The farmland was appraised at $5,900 per acre, and Rodd made a winning bid of $4,000 per acre. He can borrow up to 65 percent of the appraised value.
“It’s up to me to figure out how much cash I want to put down,” he said. “Right now the rates are right around 4 percent, so it’s a good time to borrow.”
In addition to harvest, Jamie’s duties with the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and activities for the Beyer children, Rodd began preparing for his trip to Cambodia next spring. He’s going with the MARL leadership program. He received a series of shots – enough so that he felt like a pin cushion. He had malaria tablets to take too.
Rodd also had stress tests completed on his heart. His father and grandfather both had heart attacks in their late-50s, and Rodd was doing his best to avoid that.
“So far, so good,” he said. The tests showed that Rodd was healthy and able to maintain his busy life.