Harvest wraps up; corn still behind

FARGO, N.D. -- With temperatures 9 to 12 degrees warmer than usual, and an absence of rain, farmers in the region have enjoyed a longer period of favorable harvest and crop-drying weather than they might have expected.

FARGO, N.D. -- With temperatures 9 to 12 degrees warmer than usual, and an absence of rain, farmers in the region have enjoyed a longer period of favorable harvest and crop-drying weather than they might have expected.

Sugar beet harvest ended for most farmers throughout the region. American Crystal Sugar Co., was getting a few beets in on Oct. 27 in the Moorhead factory district, but had hit the 98 percent completion mark co-op wide on Oct. 12.

Brian Ingulsrud, American Crystal vice president of agriculture, says the beet harvest came in at 23.3 tons per acre, which is less than the 24 tons that was expected a month ago. Lower yields were connected to the fact that the average planting date was May 21 versus the 10-year average of May 5.

Yields were highest in the middle of the Red River Valley -- the Hillsboro, N.D., East Grand Forks, Minn., and Crookston, Minn., factory districts. Ingulsrud says terrific harvest weather and no "freeze-thaw cycle" helped. He says the smaller crop will help reduce storage risk.

Tom Knudsen, vice president of agriculture for Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in Wahpeton, N.D., says growers were done harvesting Oct. 14. Yields came in at 22 tons per acre, with sugar content 17.3 percent. That is far better than the 17 tons expected in July and 20 tons in August.


"Last year, August was bone dry, and this year we had rain and then it was dry again," Knudsen says. "Nobody was complaining."

Slice should wrap up the first week of May.

Farther west, Russ Fullmer, ag manager for Sidney Sugars Inc. in Sidney, Mont., says his growers on Oct. 25 completed a record harvest that came in at 30.4 tons per acre, which bested the old record of 27.5 tons. The crop averaged 18.44 percent sugar content. Biggest yields were near the factory and up to the Fairview, Mont., area about 14 miles to the north.

"It was a great crop," Fullmer says.

Harvest pace started slow with some rain, but then went well, with beets going into piles pretty clean. Slice campaign is expected to go to the second week of February, which is about normal.

Warm days and cool nights helped with sugar beet harvest in the region, with Montana at 80 percent complete, just ahead of the five-year average.

Harvest progress

Here are state-by-state crop summaries for the other crops, as reported Oct. 27 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service offices in the region:


• North Dakota: Corn was 22 percent harvested, behind 30 percent last year and 52 percent for the five-year average. Corn was 93 percent mature, ahead of the 90 percent average. Only 7 percent of the corn is rated poor or very poor, 18 percent fair, 57 percent good and 18 percent excellent.

Soybean harvest is 93 percent complete, speeding ahead of the 78 percent average for the past five years. Sunflower harvest is revving up at 32 percent complete, ahead of 11 percent last year, but slightly behind the 38 percent five-year average. Soybean conditions are rated 74 percent good to excellent.

Flaxseed, dry beans and potatoes were all about 95 percent harvested -- all about equal to the five-year average for the date.

Looking ahead to next year, winter wheat acreage is reported in 69 percent good to excellent condition. Pastures and ranges are rated 72 percent good to excellent, with stock water supplies at 96 percent adequate to surplus. Topsoil moisture is rated 87 percent adequate to surplus and subsoil moisture is 91 percent adequate to surplus.

• South Dakota: Corn was 34 percent harvested, compared with the 60 percent average for the date. With 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork, farmers continued their harvest and made good progress on corn, especially. Corn was rated 75 percent good to excellent, with 97 percent mature.

Soybean harvest is 96 percent complete, ahead of the 84 percent five-year average. Sorghum was 69 percent harvested, about equal to the 71 percent average.

Sunflower harvest was 29 percent complete, behind the 49 percent average for the date, with 61 percent rated good to excellent.

With topsoil 76 percent adequate to surplus and subsoil moisture 76 percent adequate to surplus, 78 percent of the alfalfa was achieving a fourth cutting this year. Pasture and range are 62 percent good to excellent and stock water is 80 percent adequate to surplus.


• Minnesota: Also with 6.4 days of fieldwork, Minnesota corn harvest was 41 percent complete, catching up to 10 days behind schedule from at least 14 days behind since the start of harvest. Average for the date would be 63 percent complete. Corn moisture content had dropped to an average of 20 percent, down from 23 percent the previous week. Corn condition is 68 percent good to excellent.

Soybean harvest is 94 percent complete, 11 days ahead of the five-year average, gaining seven days on the previous week's pace. Soybeans were only 58 percent good to excellent, with 50 percent in the fair category.

Dry edible bean harvest is wrapping up at 98 percent complete, and sunflower harvest is 54 percent complete, just six days behind average.

• Montana: Corn was 64 percent harvested for the week ended Oct. 27, ahead of last year's 26 percent, which also was the five-year average. Corn condition was 68 percent good to excellent, compared with 62 percent for the five-year average.

Harvest percentages for other crops included dry beans at 95 percent and flaxseed at 94 percent. Potatoes were 63 percent harvested, far short of 93 percent for the date.

Looking ahead, Montana has potential for a winter wheat crop, with 91 percent of its acres emerged, compared with the five-year average of 65 percent. Conditions are rated 77 percent good to excellent, far better than the 45 percent average for the date.

What To Read Next
Get Local