LAKE BENTON, Minn. – Lincoln County’s daytime temps moved into the 70s, while nighttime temps moved into the 50s in early September.
Worth Farms received 0.5-1.2 inches of rain on Aug. 30. Prior to that, conditions were dry throughout August.
Without rain, what looked like record yields in late July were downgraded to above-average or average in late August.
“The drought has taken the top end from the soybeans for sure,” Bob Worth said. “There’s a lot of drought stress in the soybean fields.”
With moisture missing, the heavily-podded soybean fields sloughed off their top little pods.
The Worths plant a lot of early soybeans – starting with a .07 maturity. This year, they planted the early beans first. The leaves were already dropping on Aug. 31 when Bob gave his report.
“We’re probably two weeks away from considering soybean harvest on the first fields,” he said.
The Worths try to spread out their harvest, so they can harvest soybeans at the correct moisture level. They didn’t want the beans to get too dry and risk losing yield, so they planted early soybeans first. Soybean maturities range from 0.7-1.9.
“We’re on Buffalo Ridge, so early frost can come at any time,” he said, adding that he’s witnessed frost twice as early as Sept. 2.
They expect the early soybeans to yield as well as the later maturities because of the August drought. The early soybeans were already starting to fill when conditions turned dry. The later soybeans didn’t have the energy to keep filling the pods.
Despite recent rain, Bob expects the later maturity soybeans will not grow additional blossoms or pods. The plants were in drought-stress survival mode for too long. He thinks the pods that are on the plants will fill and gain test weight, which will help.
Both soybeans and corn seemed to be moving to an earlier harvest than in some years.
A lot of corn silage was being chopped in southwest Minnesota. Bob figured about half of the corn silage was already in a pile, bag or silo.
The Worths were finishing up any tasks that needed to get done before the harvest push. The combine, soybean head, corn head, trucks and tillage tools were ready. They were still waiting for a crew to service the grain bin and drying setup.
“We’ve been down to check out everything on the dryer set up that we can do – making sure everything runs, but we still need to have them come and service it and make sure it will run the whole season,” he said. “That’s our big thing – to make sure it runs the whole season.”
With field applications done, the sprayers were winterized and put away. That included running RV antifreeze through the small sprayers. They take apart the big sprayer.
“When we get done with harvest, we won’t have to worry about that,” he said. “By the time we get done with tillage, the snow could be coming at any time.”