Minnesota crop outlook variable with heavy rains in south
REDWOOD COUNTY, Minn. -- Minnesota is looking at a tale of two crops for the 2018 season with yields in the southern counties reduced by heavy rains and flooding, while the north and east are showing much better potential. That may not be totally...
REDWOOD COUNTY, Minn. - Minnesota is looking at a tale of two crops for the 2018 season with yields in the southern counties reduced by heavy rains and flooding, while the north and east are showing much better potential. That may not be totally reflected in the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture crop production report which pegged soybean yields in Minnesota 2 bushels higher than last year at 49 bushels per acres, while the agency lowered corn yield for the state by 3 bushels per acre compared to 2017 at 191 bushels.
Farmers in the state say the corn yield estimate may be too high as yield potential has been pulled down by nitrogen loss and damage from heavy rains and flooding in parts of the state. "The southern two tiers of counties along the I-90 corridor certainly was hurt by too much rainfall during the growing season," says Brian Kruse, a representative for Golden Harvest Sales.
In southwest Minnesota, Slayton farmer Doug Magnus says the yield potential of his corn has been compromised due to excess water. "The corn crop is really variable. It goes from zero to not too bad and so much of our corn is up and down and all yellow," he says.
Corn maturity also has been pushed with Growing Degree Days well ahead of average, which could hurt the fill. "We were as much as 12 days ahead of normal in terms of the month through June and July," says Dave Nicolai, University of Minnesota Crops Extension Educator. That could negatively impact kernel weight and depth.
As a result, producers in those affected areas are expecting lower yields. Kirby Hettver farms near DeGraff, Minn. "We're probably 30 bushel off of what we planned. 210 was kind of the low end of the fields that we planned for production wise, so you know I'm really hopeful for 180, 185 farm averages," Hettver says.
Bob Worth, a Lake Benton, Minn., farmer says the large variability within fields due to the heavy rains will mean large yield ranges. "As we harvest this fall we're going to have corn from zero to 250 on the same round," he says. That also means the crop will have varying moisture levels which will be a challenge to harvest in the fall and tore through the winter.
However, to the north and east the potential improves due to more normal rainfall. "If I go to the eastern side of the state ... I think we have a lot that could easily into that 200 bushel range or bigger," Nicolai says.
Tom Haag, a farmer from Eden Valley, Minn., says that will be the trend on his farm. "Normally we're in that 170 to 175 - really the top end for an average and right now. I'm thinking we might be able to be in that 190 to 195," Haag says. Yet, that may not make up for the losses in the south.
Meanwhile, USDA is projecting soybean yields in Minnesota to be up 2 bushels from 2017. "Our beans are neck high right now, so we're kind of in this pocket where everything is going pretty well," says Jamie Beyer, a farmer from Wheaton, Minn.
Haag says his soybeans look much better than a year ago. "We've got clusters growing on top. There's the blossoms there and with this warm temp and the moisture we've got, I'm hoping we can be in that 55 to 60-bushel range, which is a very good bean crop for us," he says.
But again there are wet pockets that will have soybean yields below 2017. Gerald Tumbleson, is in one of those spots near Sherburn, Minn. "Soybeans are going to be down," he says. "We usually run around, average in the 60s but we're not going to get that this year because of the drowned out and the spots that didn't come right." So, with high variability the jury is out on statewide yields until the combines roll this fall.