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Long, successful harvest season is wrapping up

The 2015 fall harvest is finishing up after a long and plentiful growing season. Doug Holen, the University of Minnesota Extension Educator in Crops for Otter Tail County, said that as of Monday there was still some corn to harvest, and some till...

The 2015 fall harvest is finishing up after a long and plentiful growing season.

Doug Holen, the University of Minnesota Extension Educator in Crops for Otter Tail County, said that as of Monday there was still some corn to harvest, and some tillage and manure spreading to be done, but, for the most part, harvest season was over.

Looking back on the season, he said two things stand out: First, that there weren’t a lot of problems with disease, and second, that it was a nice, long season.

Thanks to an early spring, crops were able to get in the ground in March, April and May, and temperatures have stayed relatively warm well into the fall. Adequate moisture added to the season’s success.

“It was a very good growing season,” Holen said. “Probably the biggest problem we had was with weed control, and that goes back to the long growing season.”

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Aphids were an issue in some soybean fields, he added, but other than that, area crops were pretty clear of pests and disease.

Even with the aphids, it still ended up being a better-than-average soybean year for local farmers. Holen also reported a “very good” corn year, as well as a very good wheat (especially spring wheat) and barley year, both locally and across Minnesota.

“Statewide, this was our best wheat year in history,” he said. “The same can be said for barley.”

Though there’s not usually much barley grown in the local area, Holen commented that “we’ve seen more barley and oats in Otter Tail County this year than we’ve seen in many, many years.”

Side crops, such as sunflowers and dry edible beans, did well this year, too, according to Holen. Foliage crops also did well.

 “On the heels of what was a very tough winter, we were concerned about alfalfa and hay, but all things considered, it was a pretty good foliage year, due to cooler temperatures and adequate moisture,” he explained.

Drier conditions this fall contributed to a few combine and field fires, Holen said, but the lack of rain and muddy fields made the harvest safer overall.

“We’ve had one of the nicest falls I can recall for harvest conditions,” he said.

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Cooler temperatures and a prolonged growing season did slow the harvest down a bit for some farmers. Holen explained that some grains, especially oats, were ready for harvesting before the plants themselves were mature, making it more difficult to get crops through the combines.

“So that slowed things down,” he said. “But that’s something that happens in a year like this.”

Related Topics: CROPS
A writer, editor and mom of four (two kids, two dogs), Marie's been in the newspaper business for over 20 years. She started at the Detroit Lakes Tribune in 2017 after working just down the road at the Perham Focus for several years. Before that, she was at the Herald-Review in Grand Rapids, Minn.
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