Farm Horizons, November 2010

Harvest 2010 looks like a good one

By Starrla Cray, Staff Writer

Heavy rainfall in September made fields extra wet this season, but overall, local farmers aren’t complaining.

“This year is about as ideal as you’re going to get,” said Barry Pawelk, who farms near Montrose.

In late September, Pawelk was done filling silo, but was waiting for the ground to dry in order to harvest beans.

“We got 3.5 inches of rain, which sounds high, but if you look around, especially down south, it’s not too bad,” he said.

According to a Sept. 28 article from Minnesota Public Radio, some farmers in southern Minnesota are dealing with 10- to 13.5-inch rainfall that occurred in a 30-hour period.

Before the flooding, Agri News reported that the United States Department of Agriculture was predicting record crops in Minnesota for corn and soybeans.

Although the rain has dampened the outlook somewhat, outputs have still been high.

“The yields were decent,” said Pawelk, who farms about 1,000 acres of corn, beans, and alfalfa, as well as a small amount of barley.

Pawelk’s father, Ken, said that some of their bean fields have been yielding an average of 72 to 75 bushels per acre, while others have been about 60 bushels per acre.

As of Oct. 4, the Pawelks were anticipating about 250 bushels per acre for corn.

The 2010 season started off without a hitch, and many farmers were in the fields earlier than average. May saw several days of temperatures in the 90s.

Throughout the summer, warm weather and adequate rainfall kept crops growing steadily.

“We got three-fourths of an inch of rain a week, which is about what you want,” Pawelk said. “The corn didn’t like it when it got so hot, though.”

The summer of 2010 was the fourth hottest US summer on record, according to a Sept. 14 article from Science Daily.

Corn fares best in temperatures of about 80 to 85 degrees, but this year’s high humidity helped it to hang on even in higher temperatures.

“It will stretch that top number a little bit,” Pawelk said.

This year, Pawelk said he’s thankful not to need propane to dry the corn like last year.

“It got to be pretty expensive,” he said.

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