USA:Combines hit the fields already

An earlier start to the growing season has some farmers in Walsh and Traill counties already combining their fields, reported “Kazakh-Zerno” NA with reference to the “Grand Forks Herald“.

Nate Tallackson said he started cutting a couple hundred acres of winter wheat Tuesday afternoon on Tallackson Farms northwest of Grafton, N.D.

“This is the first time ever we planted winter wheat,” Tallackson said of the field that started last September. “Perfect year for it. Nice snow cover. I think we’re running over 80 bushels, pretty good weight, protein’s a little low.”

Brad Brummond, NDSU Extension crop specialist for Walsh County, said he considered the early start “an anomaly.”

“Last year, some farmers didn’t start until Labor Day,” Brummond said. “We’re at least three weeks ahead. Most of the small grain and winter wheat will start the end of next week. We’ve got some spring wheat that’s a couple weeks away.”

“Some barley went down Friday and I just saw a combine down here running by Mayville,” said Ken Nichols, North Dakota State University Extension agent for Traill County. “We are early, two to three weeks earlier than normal. I’m surprised to see combining going. I figure by Monday, we’ll have a lot of fields being combined.”

Both Willie Huot, NDSU Extension agent for Grand Forks County, and Russ Severson, University of Minnesota Extension educator, said farmers are using pre-harvest herbicides to dry out the wheat and make it easier to combine. Severson said he’s seen some winter wheat cut up by Warren, Minn., as well as some barley research plots.

“For the last several years, harvest has been more like mid-August,” Severson said.

Most of the farmers in all four counties were able to get crops in the ground before May 1.

“We’re right on track for when the early grain got planted,” Huot said. “The grain is maturing very rapidly. It should be cut or harvested in the next week.”

Brummond said there are durum fields in western Walsh County that are two to three weeks behind. The outlook by the Climate Predictions Center for warmer fall conditions is creating optimism for crops such as dry beans, soybeans, sunflowers and especially corn.

“We’re hoping to combine the corn the same year we planted it,” Nichols said, referring to the past few years when a large part of the crop remained in the ground through the winter. “It looks like we’re on track.”

“A year ago at this time, we probably had waist-high to shoulder-high corn,” Severson said of the Polk County crop. “About a week ago, it was starting to tassel and pollinate. It’s at its maximum height, up to 8 feet.”

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