Soybean harvest was in full swing when foul weather hit last week, stopping it in its tracks. But many area farmers who also have corn have not stopped completely, just shifted gears – or combine headers.
"You can combine corn in the rain," said Randy Grueneich, North Dakota State University Extension Agent for Barnes County. Any corn field on firm ground, especially higher ground, can be harvested. This is possible because corn headers are higher off the ground compared to bean headers which run almost level to the ground.
Another problem soybean growers may now encounter is higher-moisture beans as soybeans can re-absorb a small amount of moisture and need to dry down again before harvesting. With cool weather predicted for at least the next week, drying may be slow.
Currently, two-thirds to three-quarters of the area's beans have been harvested, according to Grueneich, and yields have been less then average, but "higher than we expected," he said.
Farmers were unsure about crop yields this year after a cold spring delayed planting and a dry summer all but halted crop development. While soybean yields have been better than expected, farmers have just started on corn. It's still too early to tell, how corn survived the poor growing season, said Grueneich.
Wet weather may be good for area elevators, said Grueneich. Employees now have time to slow down and concentrate on shipping the crops already in the bins.
The good news for farmers is that the government shutdown has ended, it's expected that CRP checks can go out, albeit late, said Grueneich, who estimated that Barnes County has 70,000 acres in CRP, a federal program that compensates farmers to restore some land to wildlife habitat.