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Area farmers see good yields

By Staff | Oct 11, 2013

Area farmers sat with bated breath in the spring and early summer as wet conditions forced later-than-normal planting and some crop changes that would optimize what was expected to be a later season.

But with around a month left of harvest, most farmers in Pierce County have been pleased with the yields, even though there is still much work to do.

“Certainly, we looked at all the moisture we got in May and June,” said Mike Heidlebaugh, who farms south of Rugby. “To get the crops in as late as they did and have as much rain. We’re very fortunate to have the yields.”

Most farmers have only soybeans and corn yet to harvest with the early grains looking good.

“I guess most everybody found the early crops like the wheat, barley and canola, they were above average crop,” Heidlebaugh said. “It took awhile. Some of that harvest got delayed because of the on- and-off rain showers in September.”

Riley Schaan said he’s nearly 40 percent done with his soybean crop and had good luck with grains.

“The wheat was good for the most part, the protein was maybe little low,” he said. “Yields were good and barley was better than average.”

Even though most crops went in significantly later than farmers would prefer, the weather conditions for most of the summer helped lead to the good yields.

“Most years when you get wheat or those crops in real late they suffer from the heat late,” Schaan said. “This year we got lucky. It was cool at the end of July and August. Early on we were a little concerned with the beans, getting them in late. It was a lot better than expected.”

Dave Kraft was forced to plant more beans than initially planned due to the late spring. But it appears the switch will work out fine.

“The beans look like a real good alternative this year,” he said. “They’ve always been in our rotation, but this year we had more than expected. It stretches our harvest out, we’re looking at probably mid-November. Everything has been two weeks to a month later this year. It’ll be an above average yield year but below average prices. We’re very comfortable with the crop we do have.”

Like Kraft, Heidlebaugh ended up switching out a good portion of acres to soybeans.

“What I had intended for corn acres I switched out quite a few of those to soybeans,” he said. ” It looks like it’s going to be okay. It was a very small window when corn was being planted. I was lucky because within a week it would’ve been drowned out. I probably switched 15-20 percent of my acres.”

Farmers in Pierce County said they were fortunate to avoid the snowfall that hit South Dakota and parts of North Dakota hard in late September.

“We were a couple hundred miles away from disaster,” Schaan said.

When compared to the expectation in the spring, local crops have looked very good this season.

“From not getting it in to the later crops being really late, (it’s been good),” Kraft said. “In July, we didn’t think we’d be harvesting. With all the moisture we thought we’d have a lot of disease issues, but it’s been good quality and good yield.”

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