From white caps to dust ups

Inside Dakota Ag

Harvest is going so well that it’s hardly recognizable. Where’s the water, mud and snow?

Published on: October 18, 2011

Harvest is going surprisingly well this year.

Surprisingly, because most farmers in the eastern Dakotas are used to harvests of mud. Of pulling combines, trucks and carts, of combining corn in standing water and cob-high snow drifts, and of awaking up from a 3 a.m. nap in the sugarbeet lifter and having their  boot frozen to the cab floor. (That happened to my neighbor.)

Fields across the Dakotas are dry and the row crops are coming off fast. Some farmers, like Roger Walkinshaw, of Argusville, N.D., who I met last week -- are even done.

Corn is nearly dry enough in the field for long-term storage. Soybeans may even be too dry. There’s talking of reconditioning – i.e. “rewetting” them – before hauling them to the elevator.

Harvested fields are even getting worked with deep rippers and disks, which is a mixed blessing. Last weekend, on a trip from Fargo to Bismarck, I saw some fields in the Red River Valley blowing again.

How quickly the land changes. It went from white caps to dust-ups in one season.

What will 2012 bring?