Harvest numbers down this yearNorth Dakota’s harvest is wrapping up and not all of the numbers are looking good this year.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
North Dakota’s harvest is wrapping up and not all of the numbers are looking good this year.
Facing off against floods, hail, wind and early frost, farmers throughout the state are reaping about half as much product from multiple crops as they did last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And that could risk furthering damaging an already fragile U.S. economy. Eric Aasmundstad, president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau, said he expects drastic economic effects as a result of the damaged crops.
“With crop yields down pretty much across the board, it is going to mean tens — if not hundreds — of millions of dollars in lost revenue for the state of North Dakota,” he said.
Aasmundstad said farmers will certainly see a drop in revenue, but affiliated businesses and retail stores can also expect to feel the impact. He said every dollar from crop production translates to a value of three-and-three-quarter times throughout the economic exchange.
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said final numbers are likely to be published in January, however preliminary data supports the dismal outlook.
“Based on the fact we have 5.7 million acres of prevent plant and then we have numerous acres that aren’t accounted for yet … there is going to be a significant and large impact to North Dakota,” he said.
Goehring said most farmers were lucky to get the crop in the ground due to excessively moist conditions, and even when they did the field did not yield an average crop.
“Many cases have been a little disappointing,” he said.
Randy Hondl, a farmer south of Dickinson, said yield for his wheat was nearly half of what is was in past years. He attributed the losses to the “mudding in” of crops, which lead to a loss of fertility and poor stand.
“It’s tough to see a year like this,” he said.
Canola production is forecast to be down 43 percent from 2010 and dry edible beans are expected to be down 50 percent from last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.
North Dakota NASS Director Darin Jantzi said the drops will have a great impact on the nation.
“Whatever happens in North Dakota really affects the U.S. production because we are such a big player,” he said.
Goehring said many analysts are skeptical of the exact figures, which makes it difficult to judge what the effect will be in the markets.
“They were expecting something a little better than a disaster, but definitely below average,” Goehring said. “It’s all relative when comments are being made.”
Jantzi said the USDA is going to reevaluate their previous forecast for small grains, but there is still expected to be a decline.
“Since it was such a late year, when we collected the data in September a lot of the guys hadn’t harvested their crop,” he said. “We want to see what actually happened with those guys as far as final yields.”
Goehring said there has been some inconsistency in information about exports.
“Until we get a lot of that sorted out, we truly aren’t going to know where this market is going to end up,” he said.
Aasmundstad said at this point, farmers have to hope for a better season in 2012.