Harvest reports scattered in northeast S.D.

Farm Forum

Crop yields vary greatly from farm to farm as a harvest difficult to categorize rolls toward its conclusion.

“Yields for this year’s corn crop are all over the place,” said David Clark, agronomist for Wheat Growers. “Some are really good, and some are really bad. There were a lot of environmental factors this year. Some areas had hail, others too much rain early and there was drought in August. A lot of it depended on whether a particular field caught rain at the right time.”

Yields in Brown County range from about 90 bushels to 190 bushels an acre, he said. The average would probably be 125 bushels to 135 bushels per acre, he said.

That would be below average when compared to the South Dakota five-year average of 148 bushels an acre.

Clark estimates that about 75 percent of the corn crop has been harvested.

Craig Haugaard, marketing manager for North Central Farmers Elevator, said corn yields in Edmunds County are about 80 to 120 bushels per acre. The yields are better on average in Campbell and Walworth counties, he said. Near Bowdle, Java, Herreid and Pollock, the yields are above 120 bushels with some much higher.

“Pollock is a garden spot,” Haugaard said. “They just seemed to catch the rain other areas missed.”

While the area yields for corn and soybeans are down from last year, most farmers are doing better than they expected, Haugaard said.

Soybean yields are averaging in the 30 to 35 bushel per acre range, which is much better than expected given the August drought, he said.

“I was getting quite concerned when we went without rain in August, but now I am pleasantly surprised,” he said.

Clark said that, in Brown County, soybean yields are from 35 to 40 bushels an acre.

“Most producers are pleasantly surprised by bean yields,” he said. “I would say the soybean crop is a little above average and the corn crop a little below average.”

Corn moisture is higher this year compared to last year, requiring most farmers to dry their corn.

Corn prices are one of the big concerns for producers. At the close of business on Nov. 8 North Central Farmers Elevator was paying $3.74 per bushel. It was nearly $7 a bushel last year at this time.

Soybean prices are down but haven’t dropped nearly as far as corn. Soybeans were $12.16 a bushel at North Central at the close of the day on Nov. 8. A year ago, the price was about $2 higher.

The USDA Supply and Demand Report and the Crop Production Report were released on Nov. 8. Haugaard said the number of estimated corn acres planted and harvested dropped, but the nationwide average yield estimates increased to 160.4 bushels an acre. Exports also increased. Altogether, the reports suggest corn prices should not change much in the near future, he said.

Ryan Wagner, who farms in Day County northwest of Roslyn, said the harvest is a little behind schedule. Crops weren’t planted until late spring and took longer to develop. Farmers had a decent start to harvest but were set back by rain and three inches of snow in late October.

Wagner’s crop yields are a little different than area trends. He said his corn crop is better than his soybean crop.

“We had a unique situation,” he said. “Where some areas didn’t catch the rain, we did.”

He said his corn yields are about 10 to 15 percent above his farm’s five-year crop average. The soybean yields are right at average, he said.

Wagner expects to be finished with harvesting by Thanksgiving and, hopefully, a little earlier.

“I have deer hunting the weekend before Thanksgiving, so that is my goal,” he said.

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