Seeds and Snow Don't Mix - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Seeds and Snow Don't Mix

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Many areas of North Dakota are inching very close to setting rainfall records for 2013, and while moisture is almost always a good thing for the state's farmers, many sunflower and soybean producers have had enough. Four of the five major weather service sites throughout North Dakota have already received enough moisture to position those reporting stations in the top ten for wettest years of all time.

Late season, row crops across North Dakota are soaked and covered in snow.  This field of sunflowers is so top heavy with seeds and snow, many stalks are collapsing under their own weight.

"Some of these here that have some stems were going to be able to hook those and pick them up, but those ones that are laying flat like this one right here, if they're down on the ground that far, we're not going to get them," says North Dakota sunflower producer Clark Coleman.

As Clark Coleman walks through the fields of flowers he planted with his brother Kurt, they step over the 30 percent of the stalks that have been flattened.

"We were anticipating probably a record sunflower crop, or real close to some of the best flowers we've ever had but it's not going to do it now," says Coleman.

Many of the state's sunflower producers are in the same boat.

"It's very disappointing, there's no other way to put it, it's just a total disappointment," says executive director John Sandbakken, National Sunflower Association.

Sandbakken says most North Dakota farmers were looking at yields of over a ton and some producers were reporting 3000-pound yields before it started snowing or raining in September and October.

"If you go back to September first, we've had nine inches of rain," says Sandbakken.

As bad as the moisture situation is for sunflowers, the Coleman brothers are even more worried about their soybean crop.

"Soybeans you have to put the headers right on the ground so if we have any snow at all on the ground we can't combine soybeans," says Coleman.

The Coleman brothers are usually done with both the soybean and sunflower harvest by mid October and they say it will take at least two weeks of combining to bring in what's left of their crops after they dry out.  Despite all the problems North Dakota farmers have had harvesting this year, there is some good news to be found for sunflower producers under all the snow.

"With the amount of seed that's being lost, there will be some really good potential later this Fall or early winter to sell seeds because the market will respond to the loss of the seed.  Obviously when there is less available, that's going to make prices rise and it also will really open up opportunities for 2014 to contract new crop," says Sandbakken.

Right now, most North Dakota farmers aren't thinking about next year, they just want to finish harvesting the 2013 crop as soon as possible.

With today's snow, the Bismarck region, moved into 5th place for the wettest years on record.  25.40 inches of moisture has been recorded 2013.  The wettest year occurred in 1876 with 30.92 inches fell.

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