GARFIELD, Minn. — Like many Minnesota farmers this year, Adam Johnson has been bouncing back and forth between harvesting soybeans and harvesting corn.
“We’d probably just take beans until they were done and then take the corn as long as the weather cooperated, but we’ll take corn if the beans won’t go or if we get some wet weather and we can’t get into the field to take them,” Johnson said.
Johnson, on Oct. 23, said he had a few days left of soybeans and after those were done, could finish up corn in about a day-and-a-half.
Part of the reason for switching gears mid-harvest is that Johnson said his beans were uneven in maturity.
“We had some uneven emergence this spring from lack of moisture and we didn’t get any rains to help get the beans to come up so we had some sprouted a lot later than the others,” Johnson said. “So we just had spots in the fields where it was really uneven and we had to wait for them to ripen.”
At the same time, the corn was ready earlier this year in a hot, dry summer — at least until late in the season.
“We started corn on the 20th of September and since then we’ve had a bunch of days where it’s rained off and on,” Johnson said. “We’ve had more rain during harvest now than we had all summer to grow the crop.”
Johnson does not have any irrigated acres on his fields in the Alexandria, Minnesota, area. The rolling hills in lakes country have meant yields also are up and down.
“Yields have been all over the place. It’s the same everywhere around here. Sandy ground is terrible; Good, heavy ground is fantastic,” Johnson said.
He said yields vary from 75 to 225 bushels per acre on corn.
“It’ll go from nothing on the hilltops to ‘can’t believe it,’ in the low spots,” he said.
As Johnson said earlier in the growing season, it was a bad season for corn rootworms in west-central Minnesota and cut yields in some spots.
The worms weakened root systems and there was more “lodging” or corn plants falling over than he expected.
“We probably thought that we had some fields that we thought were going to do a lot better than they did. But once we got into them, there was a lot more lodging in the field,” Johnson said.
He said the
for two seasons, so even rotating out of corn for a year means corn will still be susceptible to rootworm damage the following year.
“There was a lot of (rootworm) beetles out this summer and next summer is going to be interesting,” he said.
That may force him to go to some corn with rootworm resistant traits next year and putting down insecticide at planting.
“With not having an issue with worms in this area before, not a lot of people were out looking for it,” Johnson said. “And once they emerged as beetles, there was a lot of spraying done at pollination just to keep the silks on the cobs, and that killed some of the beetles, but a lot of them emerge later than that. So I’m sure that they laid a lot of eggs this fall.”
As far as soybean yield, he said the first fields were better than expected but that diminished as harvest went along.
“I think when we’re done with them, it’ll be an average crop,” Johnson said. “Maybe 5-10 bushels below average on the corn.”
Reach Agweek reporter Jeff Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 701-451-5651.
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