Bringing in the beans
WORTHINGTON -- Combines were rolling through bean fields in rural Worthington Tuesday afternoon as harvest slowly progressed across Minnesota.
Although delayed by rains Friday and Saturday -- and with the potential for more rain showers today -- farmers logged a few hours of tractor time Tuesday.
"Some beans were ready to go late last week, but the rains delayed things," said University of Minnesota Extension Crops Specialist Liz Stahl, of the Worthington Regional Extension Center.
Stahl expected harvest to be in full swing by the weekend, barring excessive moisture.
"It just has to dry down a bit," said Stahl, adding that farmers farther north have harvested more soybean acres.
According to the Minnesota Weekly Crop Weather Report issued by the National Agriculture Statistics Service, 7 percent of the state's soybean crop was harvested as of Sunday, while 2 percent of the corn crop was taken out of the field. Bean harvest hasn't kept pace with last year's (14 percent harvested), or even the last five-year average (10 percent). However, Stahl said that soybean maturity this year beats both last year's level and the five-year average.
In corn, 2 percent of the state's crop was reported as harvested as of Sunday -- equal to last year at this time as well as the five-year norm. The corn crop was 78 percent mature, according to the crop report. That compares with a maturity of 53 percent last year and a five-year average of 49 percent.
"We had more heat units this year, and the dry conditions are speeding things up a bit," Stahl said.
Overall, she said farmers should note a good harvest this year, despite a wet spring and dry summer.
"We've heard talk of some pretty decent yields out there," Stahl said. "I don't predict (yields) up to last year -- last year was record-breaking yields. You'd be pretty hard-pressed to beat that.
"I think we've got some pretty respectable yields this year," she added.