Summer harvest is officially over and fall harvest is underway. The Hoffman Harvesting crew is now working on South Dakota soybean fields. Weather continues to be a challenge this season, but with work completed in Montana, they are close to the end.
“Everything (in Montana) that we committed to, we finished,” said Jada Bulgin of Hoffman Harvesting on Oct. 24. “It was nice to get that wrapped up and now everyone’s back in South Dakota.”
They all may be in South Dakota, but they are not quite together yet. They are in the same general region near the Hoffman’s farm in Bowdle, spread out working wherever the ground allows them to work.
“The weather hasn’t been very agreeable. It’s very wet here compared to normal,” said Bulgin. “A lot of people are having trouble because it’s so wet.”
On some fields, they are forced to combine the areas they can and leave the wet spots behind. They are having to cut around holes and low spots, taking the crop where the ground is good and leaving what’s left in the fields.
Moisture levels in the beans have been around 16%, so they are cutting them on the wetter side out of necessity. With everything being about two weeks behind, the farmers need to get whatever they can harvested before the snow falls.
They received a dusting of snow a few days prior to the interview, but nothing substantial, just enough to delay the combines another couple days.
“We just need to get the ground better. It would be nice if it either froze or got a little drier,” Bulgin said.
Yields on soybeans were running 40-60 bushels per acre.
Once soybeans are done, the Hoffmans will move onto grain corn, and then they are done for the season.
“Sometimes we do sunflowers, but we don’t have any this year,” she said. “Which is good because a lot of them are getting shelled out with all the weather.”
As a result, many sunflower growers are not even planning to cut their crop this year.
“What is nice is since we had a lot of moisture, a lot of the beans are thicker and higher up, which means they are feeding really well,” she said. “Farmers are able to make up time with that.”
The Hoffman’s standard goal for being done with harvest is right around Thanksgiving. With everything being about two weeks behind, it’s likely they will be cutting into December this year.
They may even have to do some cutting in the snow.
“We’re more worried about the ground holding up. Also, when it gets really cold out, the equipment gels up,” she said.
The big concern is they won’t be able to get into the fields and finish cutting
“The whole season has been very abnormal, but there really isn’t a ‘normal’ year,” she said. “When we think we got everything figured out, we get surprised again.”