Regional harvest nears completion

Soybean harvest
Soybean harvest is underway in the Jamestown area as seen Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, on the southwest edge of town. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Farmers in the region are accomplishing something different than they have recently, according to Randy Grueneich, Barnes County Extension agent.

"This is new for the past couple of years," he said, referring to the completion of harvest in the fall of the year. "Some of the corn farmers are already done. Some are already waiting for cooler weather to apply anhydrous."

Grueneich said the killing frost in September that stopped crop growth was followed by dry weather that allowed farmers to get in the fields for an efficient harvest, although that wasn't the only factor in the early wrap up of harvest.

Grueneich estimated Barnes County farmers only planted about 35% of the usual corn acres this year so harvest is only taking about one-third of the time.


Some of the usual corn acres were planted to other crops but Grueneich estimated somewhere between 30% and 40% of Barnes County cropland was unable to be planted due to wet conditions last spring.

Stutsman County still has some corn acres to harvest but not many, said Alicia Harstad, Stutsman County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

"There weren't many acres planted so it won't take long to harvest," she said, referring to conditions in the eastern part of Stutsman County.

Conditions are similar in Foster County, according to Jeff Gale, Foster County Extension agent.

"There is much less to harvest," he said. "About 40% is prevented plant."

Gale said Foster County farmers had completed soybean harvest and were making good progress on corn, although dry conditions are concerning.

"We've had little ran since early July," he said. "It's dry ... It's a concern going into winter."

Moisture is less of a concern in Barnes County, Grueneich said.


"The soil is dry on top but there is a little a moisture underneath," he said.

Grueneich said fall tillage is extending into acres that were too wet to work anytime earlier this year.

"We finally have a chance to get some high-water areas to dry town," he said. "... farmers are still busy but not necessarily in a combine this fall."

Gale said the dry conditions are the only downside to the conditions that allowed farmers to finish harvest in a timely manner this fall.

"You may get a few perfect years in the life of a farmer but not many," he said.

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