Red River Farm Network Crop Tour, presented by Pioneer, confirms the impact hot, dry weather had on the crop in a large part of northwest Minnesota and North Dakota. Despite that, tour scouts found strong yield potential for corn and soybeans in the region.
An impressive crop is on the horizon in the southern Red River Valley. At Elbow Lake, Minnesota, Red River Marketing sales associate Leah Johnson said the enthusiasm around the local corn crop is much higher than the norm. At Wheaton, Minnesota, there is potential for a record corn and soybean crop. South Valley Seed sales associate Kyle Dally said farmers “will have 200-bushel corn and our average is generally 175 bushels per acre.” A similar story was heard when the RRFN Crop Tour stopped at Fairmount, North Dakota.
The week before Labor Day, a long, but, narrow band of hail zeroed out the crop near Comstock and Sabin, Minnesota. That hailstorm started 40 miles west at Leonard, North Dakota. At Leonard, Back Country Ag sales representative Cody Nelson remains optimistic, but warned about stalk rot and the possibility of lodged corn.
Average soybeans and above-average corn are expected near Georgetown, Ada and Mahnomen, Minnesota. The region had timely rains through early July, but went 35 days without rains in July and August. Late August rains were seen as beneficial for podfill in the soybeans.
From Red Lake Falls to Roseau, crop results will depend on the stage of development at pollination time. Gary Purath, who is based at Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, expects wide variability with everything from 20 bushel per acre soybeans to 45 bushel per acre yields. During the stop at Purath’s plot, a 75-day corn had a nice full ear, while a 91-day maturity hybrid had significant tipback. The timing of the hot, dry weather was the difference.
Amy Brateng operates South 89 Seed at Roseau, Minnesota. “With the dry conditions, stalk integrity can be an issue and farmers are advised to harvest on a timely basis to protect yield.” Weed control issues were evident with many local farmers dealing with waterhemp for the first time.
It was a mixed bag for crops in northeast and north central North Dakota. Drought-stressed crops are evident with more tipback and firing of the corn stalk. Harvest management will also be an issue. Pisek, North Dakota farmer and Pioneer sales professional Scott Bylin said “I think we’ll have some early soybean maturities harvested in middle end of this week, which is a couple weeks early.”
The southern stretch of the tour went through Steele, Dawson, Kulm, Jamestown and Tower City, North Dakota. The pace of crop development has been helped by 2018 weather conditions. In many cases, the number of GDUs is 150-to-250 ahead of the norm. At Jamestown, Pioneer sales professional Todd Sjostrom said local crops seemed to pick up a rain every ten days or so. “Most people will be disappointed if they get average yields,” said Sjostrom.
At Hope, North Dakota, the RRFN tour found a widely variable crop. There fields with drown-outs and others that look very nice. The tour also moved through Mayville, Arvilla and Larimore, North Dakota. Nelson Farms senior partner Wayne Nelson said the crop got off to a very good start, but was hurt by mid-season dryness. It was not a year for soybean aphids, but Nelson dealt with spider mites. Corn earworm and European Corn Borer has also been found. At McCoy Farms at Larimore, Shaun McCoy voiced concern about ear retention and poor stalk quality.
Weed pressure is also evident across the region. Kochia, waterhemp and ragweed are all prevalent. Palmer amaranth has also been confirmed in McIntosh County, North Dakota. Farmers are using different traits to help combat weeds. “In the northern part of the region, farmers are using more Xtend soybeans, but not necessarily applying dicamba. In the southern areas, there is more Liberty Link,” says Pioneer Field Agronomist Zach Fore. “We need to keep weed management in mind as we wrap up harvest and go into next year.”
Red River Farm Network’s first annual Crop Tour wrapped up Friday, August 31, covering northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. The Red River Farm Network Crop Tour is presented by Pioneer. Watch tour progress on Facebook, Twitter and via #RRFNCropTour18.