Best Crop Ever For Many Area Producers
It’s not quite in the books yet, but for many area producers the 2018 corn harvest was the best ever.
But it didn’t come easily.
Back in early September things were setting up for an early harvest. With crops ahead of schedule, many producers expected this year’s harvest to be over by the end of October. But Mother Nature had other ideas.
Nearly three weeks of regular rains in September
and early October, followed by 9-11 inches of wet snow on Oct. 10, turned this year’s harvest into a challenging one. In fact, according to Doug Oelkers Records of Britton, a total of 5.03 inches of rain was recorded from Sept. 18-Oct. 10 and moisture was measured on 20 of the 23 days during that stretch.
“We went from thinking we would have a big percentage of the harvest done in September to not yet quite being done,” said Jim Gallagher of Full Circle Ag in Forman, ND.
Many producers were concerned that the wet snow would knock the beans down and make it difficult to harvest the crop. The snow did make things more difficult, but for the most part, producers were able to get most of the beans with the exception of a few low spots.
There are still a few beans in the field but for the most part the bean harvest is complete. Area estimates place the corn harvest as being about 90 percent done and forecasts are calling for favorable weather to hopefully wrap up that harvest soon.
Despite the fact that this year’s harvest was the longest ever for many area producers, a record number of bushels has helped to ease the pain and frustration.
Justin Ostby of Wheaton-Dumont and manager of the Britton Elevator, said the facility saw a 14 percent increase in corn bushels taken in since September – about a 600,000-bushel increase over last year. He said corn yields had ranged from 180-200 bushels and beans were in the 40-70-bushel range.
“A lot of the area producers are saying the corn harvest was the best they’ve ever had,” noted Ostby.
Full Circle Agagronomist Joe Gustafson concurred.
“There was a lot of grain out there, and that’s why it’s important to take the time to get everything,” said Gustafson. “There were some areas that had just about perfect rains, and the corn was almost like it was irrigated.”
Reports indicated there were some fields in the hills area east of Britton that yielded up to 250-bushel corn in spots, something almost unheard of in that area. West of Britton in the Groton and Aberdeen areas was a little bit different story. The farther west the drier it was.
The Langford area also reported record yields.
“This was one of the most challenging harvests, and at least probably one of the longest ever,” said Stuart Samson of County Line Seed in Langford. “But the corn was above average and some really above average. The guys that got timely rains definitely saw some big numbers with some cornfield averages of 230-240 bushels.
“Beans were a little spottier,” noted Samson, “with some drowned out spots. They also got pretty stressed out in the summer that dragged the field average down a little bit, but overall the bean yield was still pretty good in the 45-55 range.”
“When you combine the corn crop and the bean crop a lot of guys will say it was the best harvest they’ve ever had.”
Samson said for the first year charcoal rot was a factor in some bean fields.
“Charcoal rot appears when you have good growing conditions followed by a really hot, dry stretch. This is really the first year that we’ve had any significant amount of that, and it’s hard to say if it will be back next year or not.”
Most are in agreement that 2018 is definitely a year for the record books.
“We had just perfect conditions,” added Gallagher. “You couldn’t ask for it to be any better. We started out pretty dry and everybody was pretty concerned, but that turned out to be a good thing with the root systems going deep. When you combine the corn crop and the bean crop a lot of guys will say it was the best harvest they’ve ever had.”