Farmers feeling the drought

The harvest is underway and farmers are getting a good idea of what their yields will be for the season.

Mower County farmers saw first hand how the latest crop varieties held up through a dry season during the recent Mower County Corn and Soybean Growers Plot Day, at Corey Hansen’s farm, south of Austin. More than 70 farmers gathered to see the progress and quality of 14 corn and 12 soybean varieties and compare each variety. Several seed representatives spoke about their varieties and demonstrated how the crop has been affected by this year’s dry conditions.

Hansen said some of his corn is averaging 75 bushels per acre. About 180 bushels is average. Farmers are already picking some beans, as well.

“Not all the corn is ready,” Hansen said, and added that some farmers are simply trying to salvage corn knocked over by wind last week and see what their yields are.

Mower County farmers have joined many across the nation in battling through what some call the worst drought in 50 years. “It’s been a very dry year for us,” said Bruce Nelsen, Mower County farmer and Corn and Soybean Growers treasurer. “The southern two-thirds of the county has been hit especially hard. Some farmers are chopping their corn for silage early to sell to livestock producers.”

Ron Smith, risk management officer at AgStar Financial Services, spoke to farmers about their options in dealing with a drought. He explained insurance needs and warned farmers to check with their insurance agents to get estimates before making any big decisions, like harvesting early.

Nora Nolden, regional communications specialist with Minnesota Soybean, also spoke about the soybean checkoff. The soybean checkoff collects funds from each bushel of soybeans sold to promote, educate, and develop market opportunities. She also shared The R.E.A.L. Story — a communications campaign that promotes Responsible, Ethical Agriculture for Life through farmers’ stories throughout the state. The story helps consumers connect with farmers in their counties.

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