Like last year, Minnesota has been a garden spot this entire season, with historically high crop ratings and development. But will Minnesota farmers be able to top last year’s bin buster? AgDay’s Michelle Rook talked to farmers and agronomists at Farmfest in Redwood County, Minn., to get their projections.
Minnesota’s crop ratings have been running extremely high all season, leaving many to wonder if the state is working on another record crop.
Agronomists say while ratings may be similar to 2015, it will be tough to break the record as the soybeans didn’t get off to as good a start.
“There’s quite a few beans, especially in southwest Minnesota areas that got planted in June, so that’s going to limit us a little bit on the top end yield and then the replants as well. But again, I would still be fairly close to last year, but not quite there," said Jack Brodshaug, a DeKalb/Asgrow agronomist.
While weed and insect pressure has been light so far, there’s still the possibility of disease.
“We are concerned about diseases such as white mold, brown stem rot, sudden death syndrome in the soybeans, particularly because of the wet weather," said David Nicolai, a University of MInnesota Extension crop scientist.
However, farmers are more optimistic about their yield potential, even compared to last year.
“I’m hoping that we’re going to be at least a little bit above average, and I’m thinking that it could even be a little better than that," said Theresia Gillie, a farmer in Hallock, Minn.
As far as the corn crop goes, it may have less of a chance of breaking last year’s record due to more variability and weather stress or damage.
“There was a little bit of a germination issue—nothing that was extreme, but I think there were some issues with the cold weather," said Joel Schreurs, a farmer in Tyler, Minn.
“I don’t think we’ll have a record crop like last year, because last year we really got everything planted and we didn’t have any variation across fields," Broadshaug said. "This year, there are some low areas we had to replant. It seems like there are one or two acres in every field where it’s not quite perfect.”
That’s reflected in farmers’ yield estimates, which are at or below 2015.
“Last year, we were running at 185 to 190 (bushels per acre), and I’m looking this year at about 170 (or) maybe 175," said Tom Haag, a farmer in Eden Valley, Minn.
“I would say it’s going to be comparable to last year, and last year we were over 200—but not much over 200—so I’m guessing we’re going to be in that same frame," said one Minnesota farmer.
As far as statewide projections, last year Minnesota produced a record 188 bushel per acre corn yield and 50 bushels per acres on beans. What about this year?
“I’d say Minnesota probably goes into 180 bushel per acre (for corn) and beans about the same as we had last year, maybe a bushel per acre better," said Mark Schultz of Northstar Commodity.
However, he admits August weather will be key for filling, and it may take until the combines roll to determine the actual yield.