ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The very early stages of the fall harvest season are just beginning. Silage corn is starting to come out of the fields and corn is starting to dent. In a few weeks, growers are going to be going full throttle just trying to stay ahead of a potential frost.
“The corn is grown and now it's starting to turn brown,” said Dave Prestholt, crop consultant and owner of Soil Mineral Technologies in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. “I don't think it's going to be a bumper crop, it's not going to be a terrible crop, but it's good, it's going to be average.”
As of Sept. 3, the USDA Crop Conditions and Progress Report estimated 25 percent of the corn crop in the state has dented, which is two weeks behind last year and 10 days behind the average.
During the week, 84 percent of the corn had reached the dough stage, 11 days behind last year.
Silage harvest is just beginning with 2 percent harvested.
“If we have an early frost, we are in trouble. There’s going to be a lot of drying corn,” Prestholt said. “My opinion is it won't frost before we have to harvest because it's not that late, but there's still going to be a lot of wet corn. Everybody’s going to be getting it out early when they can.”
Growers that are planning ahead might be considering extra LP storage ahead of harvest to ensure their driers can stay running.
Adding drying time will slow down that harvest, but it is looking like it will be a necessary step this season and something that will need to be planned for.
USDA rates the corn crop at about 55 percent good-to-excellent. Minnesota has certainly had higher ratings at this time in the past, but that is not a reason to be discouraged.
“I don't see much for bugs, I don't see much for diseases, I don't even see a whole lot of Goss’s wilt out there this year to be honest with you,” he said. “I was worried. There's been so much rain, so I thought we’d have a lot of green snap because there's not much for roots and I thought that there'd be a lot laying down, but there isn't.”
Even fungal diseases have not been a huge issue this year.
The soybean crop is smaller this year. With the late plant, the beans just have not had enough time to grow and build biomass.
USDA rates the soybean crop at 58 percent good-to-excellent and about 10-14 days behind last year and only 6-10 days behind the average.
“Let's face it, beans got mudded in. Some of them were an afterthought. We couldn’t get the corn in, so let's throw beans in,” he said. “Did they always pick the right variety for the field? No. But they put in what they could get in.”
Nearly the entire soybean crop is setting pods, about 97 percent. There are reports saying about 7 percent of beans are starting to turn color.
“I think it's just going to be an average year, 180-190 bushel corn and 40-45 bushel beans,” said Prestholt.