Harvest Continues Into January

While you might be focused on the new year, there’s a farmer in eastern Montana who is still trying to wrap up 2018.
Jim Olson takes us to Plentywood, where last year’s crop is still being brought in.

(Jim Olson, KX News) “Combines rolling through a durum field in eastern Montana are not an unusual sight. Unless it’s January.”

(Cecil Marsh, Plentywood Area Farmer/Rancher) “It’s been a terrible year. We’ve been behind from the get-go.”

The Marsh farm encompasses about seven thousand acres near the Canadian border. And because of a late seeding season and heavy rain during the normal harvest months, they had over three thousand acres of durum still in the field in mid-December.

(Cecil Marsh, Plentywood Area Farmer/Rancher) “Right now we have about 13- or 14-hundred acres left.”

And so every day – when the weather cooperates like it did today – they get a small window of time when they can salvage some of what’s still standing.

(Hunter Olson, Plentywood Area Farmer/Rancher) “This was a very nice crop- we were expecting 40 or 50 bushels per acre…now we’re down to an average of 20 or 25, which I guess is better than zero.”

Hunter Olson works for the Marshes and says this harvest season has been hard to believe. He’s operating the combine very carefully…

(Hunter Olson, Plentywood Area Farmer/Rancher) “Just try to stay above the snow or the moisture will get in.”

Keeping the header above the layer of snow to minimize moisture – and even at that, the grain is wet.

(Hunter Olson, Plentywood Area Farmer/Rancher) “18% or under, we’ll take it. Get any higher than that and we start having trouble in the bin.”

It’s the kind of growing season they’ve not seen before around here.

(Cecil Marsh, Plentywood Area Farmer/Rancher) “Nothing close at all. It’s just unbelievable. One for the record books…for us anyway.”
(Hunter Olson, Plentywood Area Farmer/Rancher) “It was kind of a bad year for everybody I guess.”

(Jim Olson, KX News) “So the plan is to get as as much of the crop off the field as possible – as the weather will allow – in the next few weeks. In eastern Montana, Jim Olson, KX News.”

The farmers say they are trying to get the fields clean of crop before planting season arrives, or they’ll be facing a delay again for the 2019 crop.
 

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