Harvest has begun in the county
About 25% of the wheat crop in Pierce County has been harvested, according to one local estimate. Grain harvest has been underway in the county anywhere from four days to less than two weeks. At this time last year, the wheat crop was already harvested.
“It’s an average crop compared to past years,” said Tim McKay at Rugby Farmers Elevator.
Of course, it all depends on what part of the county a farmer lives in. Jennie Heilman, who farms in Reno Valley Township with her husband Duane, said they have finished barley and are into the wheat.
“For us, we had so much hail in June, it really affected us,” said Heilman. “Yields aren’t as good as they could be. We are happy with what we are getting, but we keep thinking ‘what if it wouldn’t have hailed?'”
Others have had crop diseases interfere with the quality of the finished product.
When talking about the abundance of moisture the county has had this spring, disease is likely to be a part of the picture, according to Carter Medalen, agronomist with Farmers Union. He adds that nitrogen and sulphur tend to leach away with the water.
“Some growers’ yields are a bit off,” said Medalen. “Yields are still respectable, though.”
Medalen has heard anything from mid 30s to 70s for bushel yields. He is optimistic at this point for soybeans and corn although both crops could use a shot of rain. It’s a bit of a catch 22 in that the small grains don’t need any more moisture and the row crops could use a little after these 90-degree days.
“With the heat we have had recently, one rain would help increase yields,” he added.
He is concerned for farmers who have had too much moisture, especially around Towner.
“We want to dry out before going into the winter,” said Medalen.
If Mckay could order the weather, he said would ask for 10 days to two weeks of dry weather and then a shower.
Brian and Sue Blessum who farm along 31st Avenue NE, Rugby, said, “It’s been an interesting harvest.” The Blessums are about 1/3 done harvesting their wheat and so far the protein is good this year. “The yield isn’t as good though,” Brian added. “Some of the crops are diseased.”
The weather was very conducive to getting into the drier fields this past week. Small grain conditions remained mostly good to excellent as more growers across the state began harvesting activities, according to the North Dakota Crop, Livestock and Weather Report for the week ending August 21. Temperatures in the Rugby area were above normal and precipitation was below normal this past week, but there was a possibility of showers and thunderstorms predicted for Friday, Aug. 26.
The predictions for the soybean and corn harvest are good to excellent for yields but as farmers say, “It’s not in the bin yet.”
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