With the upcoming harvest, farmers all across Minnesota are facing a double threat. First, the planting season was delayed in spring. Then came the persistent wet weather and unfavorable growth conditions. The combination of the two is causing farmers to stress about the coming harvest. Agriculture workers in MN are afraid that the year will end just like it began.
Heavy rain, storms, and flash flooding have ravaged Minnesota throughout the year. In spring, several weeks of flooding and rainfall resulted in a delayed planting season. As mentioned, planting occurred later than usual, at the end of spring. This has placed plants at great risk. The delay led to an increased danger of some crops being destroyed by frost before maturing. Corn is the most susceptible to frost, meaning that entire crops could suffer.
At the end of September, conditions for fieldwork were suitable for around four days due to warm weather. However, that short break was not enough. As the rain has returned, farmers are unable to work on the fields. The muddy soil has put soybean harvest behind. Other reports claim that crops are not maturing, which is even more alarming.
According to Liz Stahl, a UMN crop specialist, farmers were generally prepared for a slower harvest in 2019. However, they could not predict so much rainfall, moisture, and other harmful conditions. The crop expert also stated that this season was incredibly tough, and that moisture and humidity were preventing farmers from working in the fields.
Some late-planted crops are already seeing a decrease in maturity rates. Judging by recent crop data, only 8% of corn has matured. It’s a frightening decrease compared to last year’s 63%.
To add to the concerns, it’s possible that wet crops could increase harvesting costs. Farmers will need to invest in propane or utilize other methods to dry their crops fully. Only then can they be stored and sold safely.
Moreover, Stahl is certain that this year will produce a low yield. The expert believes this year’s harvest will be below average in all aspects. If the stress becomes overwhelming, Stahl is advising farmers to seek help from mental health specialists.
Lastly, a recent crop record from the USDA has indicated that no areas are poor in moisture. Topsoil moisture is present in over 50% of Minnesota, with surplus moisture occurring in over 40% of all fields.