Herald JournalHerald and Journal, Sept. 16, 2002

Harvest to be late, wet for area farmers

By Lynda Jensen

Record rainfalls in the Howard Lake, Waverly and Winsted areas will probably be handing several farmers a late and wet harvest this year.

Drowned crops were reported by many farmers; although the worst of it appeared to affect farmers in the immediate area, with less favorable conditions toward Howard Lake and Waverly, and better conditions going south toward Hutchinson, according to Extension Director Joe Neubauer of the McLeod/Meeker Extension Service.

Since May 1, about 40 inches of rain has been reported for the immediate area, Neubauer said.

"It depends on where you are," he said.

"People can't believe how wet it is," commented Howard Lake farmer and seed dealer Mark Diers. "It's way too much."

"We don't need a drop of rain the rest of the year," said Winsted farmer Jeff Fasching. "And no snow."

The added moisture could spell more costs to dry the crop, as well as complications for bringing it in under the messy conditions, according to the Wright County Extension Service.

In addition, farmers with soybeans are experiencing white mold; although this does not affect corn, according to Wright County Extension Service.

Part of the problem is that the sun has been unable to reach the base of the corn stalks, in order to dry out the saturated soil, Diers said.

Picking and choosing

Curiously, heavy rainfall seemed to pick and choose certain areas ­ drenching some places, and affecting others less.

For example, during the June 25 flooding, Fasching received four inches of rain at his farm southwest of Winsted, while Howard Lake farmers to the north received nine, he said.

Nevertheless, Fasching estimated losing about 5 percent of his crop to drowning; although he's been blessed with better weather in his immediate vicinity, he said.

Fasching has no complaints. "We're pretty much on schedule," he said. "I'm real pleased with how it looks."

Sean and Linda Groos, who own a farm south of Howard Lake, are also counting their blessings, although they were hit harder than the Faschings.

The Groos are expecting to lose about 10 percent of their crop to drowning, Linda said.

Nevertheless, they are commencing with harvest, and are contentedly busy at work, she said.

Winsted area farmer Greg Otto reported delays with his harvest, and about 10 to 20 percent of his crop being drowned.

Howard Lake farmer Greg Bakeberg reported about 50 to 60 acres of his crop being drowned.

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