Minnesota corn farmers should be looking forward to a good harvest with “progress ahead of normal,” according to Jeff Coulter, Extension corn specialist at the University of Minnesota. Corn was planted early and yields could be average or even slightly above average, Coulter explained.
In 2015, the state saw a bumper crop with an average yield of 188 bushels per acre, according to USDA, which predicts a 184 bpa yield in 2016.
“This year, corn development is about a week or more ahead of normal,” observed Coulter.
“Rain has been timely and adequate for most of the state this season, but was too early in the season in southwestern Minnesota,” resulting in replanting, he observed. However, in west-central and central Minnesota, hail ended up damaging corn that was only in the mid- to late vegetative stages, he noted.
The corn grain harvest should begin in late September of early October, but Coutler said it is difficult to estimate when the harvest will be completed, because “harvest progress is largely dependent on soil moisture levels and weather conditions.” In recent years, the harvest has ended in early November.
Good Signs for Soybeans
Signs are pointing to a good harvest for soybeans as well, according to Prof. Seth L. Naeve, extension agronomist at the University of Minnesota. Last year, the statewide yield was 50 bushels per acre, according to USDA, which is forecasting a 47 bpa yield in 2016.
“Ninety percent of the soybean crop is excellent,” said Naeve. “It looks really, really good,” he added, noting that it’s just before the period when yield is established, and therefore too early to predict.
Despite the overall good outlook though, there have been some trouble spots, with some areas reporting delayed planting. Others saw frost, freezing, and heavy rains, forcing farmers to replant, said Naeve, who also noted that a fairly large area of the state also experienced hail.
Weather will determine what happens to the soybeans between now and the harvest at the end of September and early October. ”There is no guarantee that we will continue to have rainfall … or we could have frost … or we could have a perfect year,” said Naeve. “We will have to keep our fingers crossed.
AgWeb will be posting a series of previews for the states covered by the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota.
The 2016 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, hosted by Pro Farmer, runs Aug. 22 through Aug. 25. Follow the tour on Twitter with the hashtag #pftour16. Or, you can join the Crop Tour from your own backyard and win! Upload your crop photos on Instagram with the hashtag #pftfour16 to enter the Midwest Crop Tour Sweepstakes. Learn more here!