Harvest is nearing an end on farms across North Dakota.
The final crops – corn and sunflowers mainly – are nearly all in the bin.
Jim Olson was at a Mountrail County farm as they finished up the year’s corn harvest.
It’s a bittersweet time on the Hoff farm near Parshall.
(Steve Hoff, Parshall Area Farmer) “It’s kind of fun combining corn.”
The fun of harvest is tempered by what the combine is picking up in this – the final corn field of the year at this farm.
(Nevets Hoff, Parshall Area Farmer) “The corn is less than average. It’s not good enough to get a crop insurance payment and the market has just been flat so there’s not a lot of opportunity for making any money on it.”
(Steve Hoff, Parshall Area Farmer) “Not enough rain to make it a super crop.”
Add to that the current malaise in the market for maize and it’s a season that’s nice to have in the rear view mirror.
(Nevets Hoff, Parshall Area Farmer) “The tariff talk doesn’t help anything. It would be nice to get that resolved soon because that’s hurting everybody, not just farmers. But the world market in general – there’s an oversupply of pretty much everything and crops need to find a market somewhere and they’re having trouble doing that.”
Despite the problems, Hoff says the corn crop will have done an important job – sending roots deep into the soil to act as aeriation…priming the pump for future crops.
(Nevets Hoff, Parshall Area Farmer) “Corn has a big root system…you get more roots in there and it activates more microbiological activity to make the soil better.”
They say the harvest finished up pretty close to on schedule for them – just prior to Thanksgiving. But you won’t see any of their corn on your table this holiday. Their crop is more likely to end up in your gas tank – it’s hauled to the ethanol plant in Underwood.
Jim Olson, KX News.
The Ag Statistics Service reports corn is 71% harvested this year – well behind the long-term average of 88%.
Sunflowers are 74% done – also lagging behind the average of 83%.