How is the North Dakota drought impacting harvest?

We talked to one farmer to learn more about the current harvest conditions
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 9:22 PM CDT
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HILLSBORO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - “We’re just hoping we don’t repeat 2 years ago is our biggest thing we’re trying to stay away from,” says Hillsboro farmer Jon Bertsch.

Bertsch says he’s started harvesting soybeans but has not yet started on corn.

“I’ve heard of other people in the area who have harvested corn. That one seems to have taken a pretty big hit. That one wants more moisture in a timely fashion than say a soybean. So, they’ve taken a hit there in regards to yield. You’re looking at 130ish which is low for the area,” says the Hillsboro farmer.

Some farmers have also reported smaller soybeans this year.

“That of course adds up to your bushel and test weight. Test weight has been a little on the lighter side and smaller beans. And the whole problem is we didn’t get enough moisture to fill the pods so the beans didn’t fill out, and especially the top pods on the plant,” says Bertsch

Sugar beet harvest starts October 1st, but with temperatures predicted to be in the seventies next week, farmers could potentially run into some problems.

“When we’re this hot now for this long, sugar beet guys need it cooler because they will not take the sugar beets at the factory because they can’t keep sugar beets at that high of a temperature. They eventually want to get them out of the ground, but they won’t let them do that if it’s 70 degrees and above,” says Bertsch.

The problem for next year will be if the conditions are similar to 2021.

“We’ve used up quite a bit of subsoil moisture right now. So, if we go into next year without some good snow cover and without some timely rains next year. Next year will be tough, very tough,” says Bertsch.

Bertsch says so far this year, the weather has been cooperative for harvest.

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