Farm Horizons, February 2010
Best harvest in recent memory
By Lynda Jensen
Most farmers in the area are calling the recent corn harvest the best they’ve seen in years, while at the same time shaking their heads over the erratic weather that resulted in such high yields.
“We had just astronomical yields,” commented Dan Glessing, who is a seed dealer for Gold Country in Waverly, and did yield-by-yield comparisons. Corn yields between 200 and 230 bushels per acre were common, he noted. However, he said that “everything was backwards,” when it came to the challenging weather.
“It was the best I ever had,” agreed farmer Jason Kieser of Winsted, who has been farming for 23 years. He saw an average of 200 bushels per acre despite the dry summer and wet months later.
“It was the year of extremes,” said farmer Rod Marquardt of Howard Lake, who has been farming for 35 years. “The Lord blessed us with a good harvest.” His better fields averaged over 200 bushels per acre. “It was a nice surprise,” Marquardt said.
Marquardt noted the extremely dry July, then wet August, with a mild September. “October we could just as well forget,” he said. November was abnormally mild.
Farmer Bob Berg of Howard Lake also observed the dry weather, saying that it’s been dry for five years now. This year is the best crop he’s had in a long time, despite the weather being “all over the place.”
“This is the first time I’ve filled my bins in five years,” Berg said.
Berg recorded between 209 and 235 bushels per acre of corn in his better fields.
Ag instructor Jim Weninger said the test plot for Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted did extremely well, but that this was due to the support of individuals who maintained it. In fact, they had to spray twice for herbicides because the first time didn’t work, he said. The test plot was in heavy soil, which forced the plant to throw down deeper roots, he said. The dry weather didn’t bother the deep roots so much, and timely rains helped.
This year, Berg finished up after Thanksgiving with a good November, he said. Last year at this time, it froze up by Nov. 17, he added.
Farmer Kraig Krienke of Lester Prairie said that he “didn’t even hardly start,” by the first week of November, since October weather was so poor. His harvest went well, but not much better than last year. “Things never did dry out,” he added.
Pat Bakeberg, who farms in Waverly, said that the recent harvest was the “best corn I’ve ever seen in my life.” His family saw over 200 bushels per acre for corn. They actually had storage problems, which is a good problem to have, he said. The weather, of course, was “cold and wet, with a little bit of everything,” he added.
Gerald Kucera of Silver Lake, who is a seed dealer for Pioneer, agreed with the appraisal of an “excellent harvest,” despite the dry summer and rains in August. He has seen corn yields from 200 to 250 on average, he said.
Kucera added that the moisture was high this year, which is something that Berg emphasized, too. Moisture was between 20 and 34 percent, Berg added.
“The coolness in July is what held us up,” he said. He has been a seed representative for 38 years.
Tyson Kaldenberg of Centra Sota reported that the majority of farmers were reporting the best yields they’ve ever had.
“It was a good year. That’s all we can ask for,” Glessing said.