Effects of drought are seen in harvest
The effects of the long, hot and dry summer in southwestern North Dakota are evident by the weak harvest of small grains reaching local elevators. "We're about 95 percent done with wheat (harvested)," said Jim Hauck, Dickinson's Southwest Grain s...
The effects of the long, hot and dry summer in southwestern North Dakota are evident by the weak harvest of small grains reaching local elevators.
"We're about 95 percent done with wheat (harvested)," said Jim Hauck, Dickinson's Southwest Grain seed plant manager on Monday. "Yields are down by 15 bushels versus last year, which was running about 35 to 40 bushels and this year is only 20 to 25. The heat and drought has definitely been a factor."
The sunflower harvest is still quiet, he added.
Hebron Farmers Elevator Company manager William Aasheim said the recent rain in the last week gave crops in the area a much needed boost.
"Wheat is from 10 to 20 bushel on yield," Aasheim said. "The test weight was 58 pounds on average, but the yield was definitely down from last year, when wheat ran 35 pounds on average."
Modern Grain Inc. manager Tim Meuchel said the harvest is just about finished around Hebron.
"We had a lot of 5- to 15-bushel wheat," Meuchel said. "I don't think anyone will average 20 bushel. Compared to last year, Hebron is less than half (for harvest)."
The area is showing few sunflowers.
"It doesn't pay the bills, but it's nice to look at," Meuchel said of the sunflowers.
In Meuchel's mind, the biggest contributing factor for this year's crops yielding less than previous years is a lack of moisture.
"We only had three-quarters of an inch of rain between Easter and harvest," Meuchel said. "We didn't get the moisture Dickinson got in the fall with the snow last year, or the rain New England had this spring."
The farther east and south you go the worst crops are, he added.
"I haven't heard much about sunflowers yet," said Robert White, manager of Bowman Grain Inc. "It sounds like they could be from 3 to 4 pounds, maybe, but the heads are real small and short."
At Minnesota Grain Inc. in Rhame, most of the small grain harvest is complete.
"Some haven't started on sunflowers, which don't look the greatest," said manager Allen Graham. "Yield is pretty down for durum and wheat is at 20 to 25 a bushel. Last year we saw about 50 to 70 a bushel for small grain."
In Golva, the small grain harvest is still coming along, even though the yield is down from previous years.
"We're definitely stressed from the heat," said Jerry Peterson of Golva Co-Op Elevator Co. "It's half a crop to what we normally see, which is usually 16 to 17 pounds."
At the Halliday Farmers Elevator Company, manager Rod Gosline said the harvest is going well and the elevator may not have room for sunflowers this year.
"We are losing test weight and the quality is a little less with a lot of two or three grades, but protein is higher," Gosline said. "The yield will be down (for sunflowers), but it's not filling out too badly for small grains."
Harvest is finished at the Southwest Grain elevator in Belfield, which saw varied crops.
"Earlier crops were looking better compared to later crops," manager Mark Barr said. "We saw about 20 to 25 bushels per acre. The hot weather was the biggest factor."
In Regent, harvest has been finished for about two weeks for the Southwest Grain elevator. Employee John Jesch had not heard much about sunflowers.
"Harvest was a lot better than people anticipated," Jesch said. "The average yield for small grains was 20 pounds a bushel, which was still more than people thought it would be."
Last year's crop was tremendous and this year's was quite less in comparison, said Darcie Filibeck, manager of the Southwest Grain elevator in Richardton.
"Spring wheat is pretty much down, flax is about halfway down and the yields are varying greatly," Filibeck said. "In Richardton's area, spring wheat is about 20 bushels (per acre) which is down from last year and the same goes for flax."