As the 2022 harvest wraps up, farmers say yields were good but not great

Corn, soybean growers point to a lack of moisture since mid-summer as the reason for lower-than-hoped-for yields.

Paul Paplow, son of Gary Paplow, who owns Paplow Harvesting and Trucking, combines corn southeast of Round Lake on Oct. 11, 2022.
Paul Paplow, son of Gary Paplow, who owns Paplow Harvesting and Trucking, combines corn southeast of Round Lake on Oct. 11, 2022.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — While farmers had a near-perfect harvest season due to the region’s abnormally dry and drought conditions, the lack of rain in the latter part of the growing season is likely to blame for lower-than-hoped-for yields.

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Keith Newman, grain department manager at New Vision Cooperative at Brewster said Monday afternoon that soybean yields averaged in the low 50-bushel-per-acre range, while corn averaged about 200 bushels per acre or slightly higher.

“Yields were definitely down from last year,” shared Newman, noting they were also quite variable depending on where the rain fell. “Some farmers had better yields than last year; some worse.”

This summer’s heat and dryness pushed maturity along quicker than normal, Newman said, attributing the lower yields to the lack of rain.

According to the USDA’s Crop Progress Report for Minnesota, issued on Monday, corn harvest statewide was 61% complete, while soybean harvest was 95% complete. Newman said in this area of southwest Minnesota, about 90% of corn was harvested as of Monday.


“We didn’t have a weather event during harvest at all,” Newman said. “We didn’t have any delays.”

Rural Bigelow farmer Matt Russell had wrapped up both corn and soybean harvest and had moved on to tillage by last Thursday.

“The rain that we had — 3 inches the first week in August — saved our crop,” said Russell. “We didn’t have much after that, and there were others that didn’t get that rain.”

Soybean yields weren’t as good as last year, but they were still good, he said, adding that he was pleasantly surprised by the corn yield. Russell also said they were blessed to harvest corn that was dry, which saves farmers money by not having to operate the corn dryer.

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“I would say about 80% of farmers did not have to dry corn,” Russell said.

Aside from the lack of moisture late in the growing season, Russell said he saw low pressure from soybean aphids this year — a pest that can cause considerable damage and yield loss if populations explode. He also noted that corn rootworm beetle pressure was scattered.

As for the harvest, Russell said with the nice weather, he and his dad, Jim, took their time.

“I have a 73-year-old father who didn’t mind quitting at 5 p.m.,” Russell said.


Working on fall tillage while he spoke via phone, Russell said the dry conditions are hard on tillage equipment.

“There’s no moisture out there,” he said.

Near Wilmont, farmer Jim Joens said they, too, were done with harvest and had moved on to tillage last week.

“Corn was decent,” said Joens. “Beans were disappointing — it was highly variable. They went everywhere from 35 to 55 (bushels per acre). It all depends if they caught a rain or what kind of soil they were on.”

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Joens said they had a 4-inch rain in 20 minutes on July 2, and just 1.5 inches of rain since then.

Moisture content was variable in the corn crop, with some fields ranging from 15% to 20%. He ran some through the dryer just to even out the moisture level.

As for the soybeans, they ranged from 9% to 17% in the same field, which made it difficult to decide when to start harvesting.

“A lot of guys just waited a little longer,” Joens said. “9% (moisture) is losing 2- to 3 bushels just on moisture — and the shrink is so big. You just gotta take it as you go.”


Joens said with the crop in, farmers now are all hoping for rain.

“The lack of moisture — a lack of snow cover — leads to a lot of soil erosion,” he said. “It could be really tough to prepare for next year. You don’t know what to do. Putting on fall nitrogen now is really a question. I worry more about a 4-5 inch spring rain on this dry ground and having fertilizer wash away.”

Weather isn’t the only worry on Joens’ mind. While the crop prices are good now, fertilizer prices are “through the roof” and diesel fuel is over $5 a gallon.

“I look for next year to be a real tough year,” Joens said. “The inputs are going to be so high. We’re all scrambling to figure out what to do next year.”

Back at New Vision, Newman said the revenue per acre is good for farmers now, but he, too, noted concern about the rising cost of inputs and the concern farmers have about next year.

“I think the revenue per acre is good (now), and that’s keeping them somewhat happy,” Newman added.

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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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