Frost may contribute to poor soybean yieldsPublished 8:05am Thursday, September 22, 2011
An early frost that killed off some soybeans and corn in the Midwest didn’t do much damage locally, but it didn’t help, according to area farmers.
For what little filling beans could have made up in the next few days, that early frost slowed the process. Furthermore, this year’s bean crop is already below par, according to local bean farmer Corey Hansen.
“They’re finishing off really slow,” he said.
Hansen harvests his beans for next year’s seeds and said an early frost on immature beans could mean they won’t germinate and grow the following harvest. Although Hansen wasn’t concerned about that in this area, he said this year’s crop is poor anyway.
Brown County Extension Agronomy Educator Ron Dodds said a hard freeze of less than 28 degrees killed nearly all of the soy fields he visited in South Dakota and North Dakota.
He said soybean plants were already two weeks behind maturity because of a cold, wet spring. Then the freeze came about two weeks earlier than normal.
Damage also is being reported in surrounding states, but it appears to be limited to small pockets, and the effect on yields will be unknown until harvest.
Hansen said even without knowing the exact yields, the small harvest will cause next year’s bean prices to rise again. That will be tough for farmers who already contracted their beans, especially those who didn’t meet yield projections.
The frost wasn’t as hard on corn, however. Though some parts of Minnesota had a longer duration of frost than others, Dan Erickson, regional representative for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, said the frost wasn’t bad enough to penetrate the top leaves of the corn.
“It seemed like the canopy held a lot of it,” he said. “The top leaves were frozen, but down below, it wasn’t so bad.”
Erickson and other farmers still aren’t guessing about yields until they get in the fields. Some farmers could be picking beans as early as next week, and corn may be a few weeks out. Erickson said his corn is at about 25 percent moisture and he would like to see near 15 percent before he harvests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.