Sunflower Harvest Remains Well Behind Schedule

News

BISMARCK — With the first day of winter just weeks away, many farmers continue to scramble to get their crops out of the ground, and sunflowers are no exception.

The National Sunflower Association said through yesterday, just 51 percent of the overall crop across the state has been harvested.

Last year at this time, 86 percent of the crop was out of the ground and normally by this time of the year sunflowers should be 94 percent harvested.

Experts point to a host of issues this season including excessive amounts of rain and snowfall as well as a constant freeze-thaw process that just makes conditions too muddy to harvest.

“As far as I can remember, this is probably the worst year that we’ve ever had you’d have to go back maybe 20 years to see something like this. It seems like the weather is just one event after another has just really impeded progress this year,” said John Sandbakken, Executive Director of the National Sunflower Association.

He said there is a silver lining as the lack of sunflowers has created a demand, meaning those who are able to harvest are paid a premium price right now.

South Dakota is also behind schedule. Just 71 percent of their crop has been harvested.

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