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Published October 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

Farmers continue to battle the weather

WILLMAR — With rain clouds over their heads and muddy fields under their feet, area farmers are struggling to get the crops harvested this fall.

By: Gretchen Schlosser, West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — With rain clouds over their heads and muddy fields under their feet, area farmers are struggling to get the crops harvested this fall.

The situation, with just 34 percent of the state’s soybean crop harvested after weeks of rain delays, is serious, according to David Nicolai, University of Minnesota Extension Educator based in Hutchinson.

“If this goes on into next week, it could be very serious,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

Extension officials are telling farmers to harvest the soybeans, both to get the crop out of the field and to prevent yield losses.

“We’re telling people, ‘if you’re not pushing mud with the cutter bar, even if they are wet, take the beans,’” he said.

Moisture rates are all over the board, Nicolai said, so farmers need to keep testing for moisture as they harvest.

Drying, or aeration in storage, is necessary for soybeans with greater than 13 percent moisture content.

John Mages, who farms in the Belgrade area, was driving the combine to a field around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to harvest soybeans. He noted seeing one neighbor in the field, and said a lot of soybeans and sugar beets had been harvested Monday.

About one-third of Mages’ soybean crop had been harvested, he said, and yields were better than had been expected. While some neighbors were drying their beans, Mages was putting his 14 to 15 percent moisture beans in the bin with aeration.

Mages said the corn is still registering moisture rates in the mid-30s, well above the ideal harvest conditions.

“It’s going to be a long fall,” he said. “It would be nice to have a few nice weeks.”

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