Farmers hope prices rebound

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2000

The corn has tasseled and the kernels are dented.

Thursday, September 07, 2000

The corn has tasseled and the kernels are dented.

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Soybeans are shifting from green to bright yellow and their leaves are dropping.

Harvest is near and there is great anticipation in the air about the yields to come.

If growers are, indeed, building their farm businesses by the bushel, prices have to rebound.

If you’re a betting farmer, an early frost is more likely than relief from low commodity prices.

That’s the scenario surrounding the 2000 harvest, which should begin in the next two weeks with soybeans taken from the fields.

That’s also the feeling that permeated Wednesday night’s Test Plot Day activities at Central Co-op of Austin: optimism mixed with realism and always with pessimism lurking just below the surface.

Tim Schley, manager of Central Co-op of Austin, was host for the annual Test Plot Day activities.

Growers in Mower and Fillmore counties saw the best of corn and soybean varieties planted and cultivated by Dave Williamson along Mower County No. 4 south of Austin.

It was an opportunity to compare their own varieties’ performance against others and always to talk of the harvest to come.

"It’s been a good year for Central Co-op," said Schley, manager of one of five branches based in Owatonna. "I would say we can expect the yields to be around average."

"We had such great harvests for the last two years, but I expect this one will be about two weeks later than in 1999," Schley said.

Schley’s customers come from Mower County, part of Freeborn County and the northern tier of townships in Iowa. "I think their attitude is good …. so far," Schley said. "It’s as good as it could be considering the wet year we had and the low commodity prices."

With a free root beer float courtesy of Ag Star financial services, the growers inspected the corn and bean varieties and then enjoyed a barbecued beef supper. In between, they visited with the company representatives and talked with representatives of the corn and soybean growers’ state organizations.

Seeing best, worst

Bryce Nelson of rural Rose Creek is president of the Mower-Fillmore Growers Association.

His take on the upcoming harvest was geographical.

"I think the east and northwest were hardest hit in the county with the rains and flooding we had and their harvest will be the worst," Nelson said. "I think the southwest part of Mower County will have the best harvest of anyone."

There are some spotty areas suffering from brown stem rot, but also pockets of brownouts or areas where flood waters as well as areas where a freak frost early in the growing season are popping up in fields all over.

"I think the farmers are hopeful for a good harvest. Their No. 1 concern remains prices. They don’t look good," Nelson said.

Web site is new

Bryant Hokeness of rural Elkton and Rodney Moe of rural Rose Creek are team leaders for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

What was on their minds Wednesday night was the new MCGA Web site accessed at

"We’re really excited about our new Web site," Hokeness said. "It’s quite sophisticated with daily articles about the industry as well as weekly and monthly updates."

The Web site can access the latest prices from no less than five area elevators, according to Moe, and gives the growers another "tool" to use to build their business by the bushel.