Farmers might harvest corn in spring

Farm Forum

YANKTON — Some corn fields in the Dakotas might not be harvested until spring, in a situation similar to one several years ago, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center said.

Brian Fuchs said the cool, wet growing season has created concerns about the moisture content of the corn, according to the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan. Too much moisture can cause the grain to spoil when it’s stored.

“We are watching, and there has been some talk in parts of the Dakotas, of keeping corn standing through the winter to allow for drying properly, similar to 2009,” Fuchs said.

Farmers faced wet conditions and snow during the 2008 corn harvest. In North Dakota, an estimated 10 percent of the corn crop had to be left in the field over the winter.

Farmers in the two states have faced similar wet conditions this fall. Only about 12 percent of the South Dakota corn crop is in the bin, compared with 32 percent on average, according to the latest weekly crop report from the federal Agriculture Department. Only about 2 percent of North Dakota’s crop has been harvested, compared to 23 percent on average.

The forecast for the Northern Plains calls for fairly dry conditions over the next week, and a good chance of above-normal temperatures.

“Typically, we are seeing some better harvest conditions throughout the region,” Fuchs said. “There is an uptick after a slow start to harvest.”

Farmers in the Dakotas are projected to produce more than 1 billion bushels of corn this year.