Farmers play a waiting game
After two snowfalls in less than a week and unusually cold weather, farmers are wondering when they will be able to finish the fall harvest.
Elevator managers estimate the harvest to be two-thirds complete, with more soybeans and milo still awaiting harvest.
Some farmers who were planning to sow wheat into harvested fields have had to give up their plans because of the lateness of the season.
When asked about prospects for getting back into the field, John Hajek of Tampa’s favorite phrase was, “I don’t know.”
He and his sons still have double-crop beans and milo to harvest and double-crop silage to chop.
“We don’t know if we’ll get into the fields this week,” he said. “It’s so cool that the ground doesn’t dry.”
He said he’s never experienced harvesting beans this late in the fall.
The silage feed is lying flat on the ground, and Hajek is not sure what they will do with it. He thought they might try to swath it and then chop it.
“I’ve really not experienced this before,” he said. “It’ll be interesting. I guess we’ll have to just wait and see and hope for the best.”
Alan Hett of Marion said he and his brother, Neal, still had 550 acres of beans to harvest. He said the ground was frozen Tuesday morning, but as soon as it started to thaw, chunks of mud were flying off the tires on his ATV.
“I’ve been afraid to look at the weather,” he said. “I hope it dries out, but at this time of year, we’re running out of drying days.”
Hett has some regular season beans that were planted in cultivated soil that hadn’t dried out.
Another problem that could occur if harvest is delayed too long, is that bean pods would shatter and the seeds would fall to the ground and sprout.
Hajek said beans were stressed last summer because of drought, and then the rains came, leaving pods weak and vulnerable to breaking open.
Hett said his beans look good so far.
“Mother Nature holds the key,” he said. “It’s how she wants to play the game. Right now, she’s not being very nice. She just snickers.”
Last modified Nov. 15, 2018