Dry Weather Allows Farmers to Resume Harvest - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Dry Weather Allows Farmers to Resume Harvest

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Two weeks ago, many sunflower and soybean fields were covered in snow, delaying the harvest of late season row crops. Early November has produced dry mild weather, so producers have been able to combine, but yields are being impacted by the early winter storms.

Many of the sunflowers in this field are not standing tall.  The stems weren't stout enough to hold up under the weight of the heads plus a couple of inches of snow. Curt Coleman estimates yields are dropping 300-500 pounds per acre due to grounded stocks.

"The One's that are flat, you just can't pick them up, you can go down and try, we've got lifters on our pans, that helps a lot, without those we'd be losing a lot more buts they still don't get them all," says Curt.

All the heads that are left behind won't go to waste.  The Coleman brothers plan to turn their cows and calves loose in the sunflower fields after they combine what they can.  

"They'll clean those up and go from head to head, just pick them up.  It will clean them up, there won't be any laying there when we take the cows out, lets put it that way," says Clark Coleman.

The sunflowers will provide calves that are headed to feedlots in Nebraska with some rapid weight gain, but next year the Colemans plan to make some cropping changes to avoid being forced to use oil seeds for feed.

"I think we'll have less late season crops, we'll probably going to do a little more canola, maybe a little more spring wheat, maybe a little more barley.  It's just too risky this time of year to have this many acres still to harvest," says Clark.

After their fields dried out, the Colemans harvested soybeans first, and they still have twelve-hundred acres of corn to cut after they finish the sunflowers.  Clark and Curt say their soybeans averaged 30 bushels an acre they say is which OK, but they are expecting a good yields on corn and they can combine that crop even if it does snow again.

Even with the recent dry weather, the North Dakota row crop harvest is still well behind normal years.  Only 26 percent of the states sunflowers have been cut according to this weeks USDA report.  Last year at this time 88 percent had been combined.  The corn harvest is only 47 percent complete, a year ago 97 percent of that crop was already cut.



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