OWATONNA, Minn. – Harvest progress was slow, if not completely stalled out due to cold weather, rain and even snow in the second week of the month.
“Not a lot of corn or soybeans were taken out in that time, but guys are starting to roll back into things today.”” said Dan Larson, regional sales agronomist with Central Farm Services, during a phone interview on Oct. 16.”
That day, most everyone in Minnesota appreciated sunshine, no rain and afternoon temperatures back around the 50s to 60s.
Unlike the previous week, the week ending Oct. 14 had only 1.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA Crop Conditions and Progress Report. It was the week with the fewest amount of field working days since April.
The USDA reported that 18 percent of the grain corn crop was harvested. This is still 10 days ahead of last year and only one day behind the five-year average. The crop was rated 75 percent good to excellent.
“Before the weather event, we had yields at 195 to 230 (bushels per acre), at a high end, a field averaged to 265,” said Larson. “On the soybean side, what little bit that's been taken out range from 55 to 60.”
As of Oct. 14, the soybean harvest was one day behind last year and nine days behind the average. Roughly 38 percent of the crop was harvested in the state. It was rated at 70 percent good to excellent.
“If anything from the weather, we might have added some moisture back to the crop,” he said. “We had some stuff here yesterday testing at 25-26 percent on the corn side, probably upward of 17-18 percent on the soybeans.”
If the forecast holds true and the weather goes as predicted, the added moisture from the rain won’t last.
Corn and soybeans were not the only crops that were moving slow. The sugarbeet harvest was less than half done, 43 percent complete – a full week behind the average. The crop was rated 72 percent good to excellent.
October’s colder-than-normal temperatures had an upside for growers looking to finish fall fertilizer applications as soon as the combining is done.
“We roll into the weekend and early next week, we will probably start seeing fertilizer go out the door and maybe even some anhydrous getting put on,” he said.
Anhydrous and other forms of nitrogen do not get applied until soil temperature drops below 50 degrees. This prevents soil biology from converting the nitrogen into forms that can be lost.
“I talked to a guy late last week Friday, soil temperatures were around 47-48 degrees,” he said. “We will see what the week brings, soil temperature wise, but I think with just our daily averages of 55 and our overnights of 35-40, I think probably in the next 10 days, you will see something being put on.”