Brandt Farms Sugarbeet harvest

Brandt Farms sugarbeet harvest

ADA, Minn. – There was plenty of rain in Norman County in August 2020. After 6-plus inches fell in mid-August, the Brandts received another 1.4 inches of rain on Aug. 30.

It was surprising how fast the water went down after the big mid-August storm, said Danny Brandt, giving his new report on Sept. 1, 2020.

In his last report, Danny said they had about 300 acres of wheat left to combine as of Aug. 18.

On Sept. 1, there were just four rounds left to make to complete the 2020 wheat harvest and small grain harvest.

They would have been done, but the field had gotten rained out on Aug. 30.

Sugarbeet pre-pile began on Aug. 24 with the Brandts trucking beets to Ada West. The harvest went very well. The trucks only got stuck a little bit and were easy to get out of any draws. The Brandts were thankful for their pre-pile driving crew.

They were set to deliver beets to Ada North beginning on Sept. 2, and then they planned to deliver some beets to the Scandia piler south of Crookston, later in September.

“We just got done loading trucks tonight,” Danny said. “We checked them over and made sure everything is working good for delivering beets tomorrow.”

A small shower came through on Sept. 1. Danny turned on the tractor windshield wipers for about a minute before the storm fizzled out.

The Brandt Farms crew had plans to deliver 900 tons from Sept. 2-5.

The station was open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Danny figured it would take about 30-36 acres to fill their Ada North quota.

“We should be able to get that accomplished,” he said. “Pre-pile was initially designed for going from field to field to get every field opened up, and get the headlands taken off and one or two splits down the field made.

“That way when we roll in through the main campaign, we just roll into the fields and start digging,” he continued. “Sometimes it works that way still, but now the quotas have gotten different and we’re raising more tons.”

The pre-pile is now designed to keep the factories running, as well as making for efficiencies in the fields, he said. Not all of the fields will be opened during pre-pile in 2020.

“We’re pre-lifting and pre-piling earlier and a little more – because our yields have gone up – and we’re butting up against capacity,” he added. After pre-lifting, Danny will go out to the fields and spread some oats as a cover crop.

Around-the-clock sugarbeet harvest begins Oct. 1.

The Brandts were satisfied with sugarbeet Cercospora leafspot control for 2020. Glen Brandt spent time spraying with a ground coup, and the last application was completed aerially.

Danny noted a big change in the soybeans.

“The beans are turning daily now,” he said. “A few days ago we were wondering if they were going to be ready in three weeks. Today we drove by and the field is turning yellow.”

The soybeans that stood in flooded conditions were dying off, he noted. The rain was helping to finish the healthy soybeans.

Danny likes to watch the soybeans getting unloaded from the truck so he can check on the quality. He’s noticed some immature soybeans in recent years, so he’s wondering if the plants need micronutrients to get those soybean seeds to full maturity all at the same time.

He’s tried fungicides, micronutrient cocktails and also boron to see if he can figure out what is missing. Getting boron into a plant via a foliar application is difficult. Danny wants to apply just half a pound of boron per acre – so it’s a challenge.

“We’ll see if we can get these beans to fill out,” he said, adding that he may try some of Kip Cullers’ recommended products.

Danny has found intensively managing the crops pays.

The 2020 Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion was cancelled earlier this year, so a friend of the Brandts invited Danny and Evan down for some antique tractor and plowing fun near Rollag, Minn.

The event included a dozen tractors and 29 bottoms plowing. The tractors ranged from a Farmall MD to a John Deere R with a 4-bottom plow. There were a couple of old Allis-Chalmers tractors and more.

“Social distancing is not a problem when you grab a tractor and everyone starts plowing,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. Everyone was just having a blast.”