‘Sitting good’: Council, MSGA directors make harvest progress

Ahead of a major October rainstorm arriving around Oct. 12, Minnesota soybean farmers picked up the pace on the 2023 harvest.

“Crops are looking better than expected,” said Wheaton farmer Jamie Beyer, who sits on the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA). and represents MSGA on the American Soybean Association. “Yields are running a wide gamut.” 

According to the USDA, 57% of Minnesota’s soybean crop had been harvest as of Oct. 10, up from 33% the previous week. In far northwest Minnesota, Kris Folland, a director with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), said he was pleased with his soybean yields after a challenging growing season.

“There are some folks with dry fields, but overall, people seem to be pretty happy with their crops up here,” said Folland, who farms in Kittson County. “We feel pretty fortunate.”

Paul Freeman, who farms in Starbuck in Pope County, started his soybean harvest in late September and reported combining average yields. Like many of his colleagues, the health of his crop came down to location, location, location. Yield variability has been a prevailing takeaway.

“It all depends on where we got rain,” said Freeman, the Council’s District 4 representative. “The way the crop’s been uneven this fall, it’s nice to get it done but time is still beneficial to us, too.”

In southwestern Minnesota, Joel Schrerus, a director with both MSGA and ASA, echoed the sentiment when reached by phone on his Tyler farm. Schreurs completed his soybean harvest about a week earlier after some September rains kept him out of the field. Overall, though, he combined well ahead of his average pace.

“They were extremely uneven to begin with, we had a lot of green beans in some of the first stuff we combined,” Schreurs said. “They were still plenty dry. … We got a lot of the beans done early.”

Schreurs, who farms with his son-in-law, indicated his bean harvest was satisfactory and predicted his corn yield may notch a personal high. His son-in-law’s farm harvested similar yields just a few miles away, yet received at least four fewer inches of rain over the summer. Those variables were par for the course this year in Lincoln County, Schreurs said.

“It wasn’t bad for us, all things considered,” he said.

Most of the southern half of Minnesota is forecasted to receive at least two inches of rain by week’s end. Schrerus said the rain patterns in his native Lincoln County have been highly unusual in his area. Typically, storms arrive west from Brookings, S.D. Lately, he’s noticed most storms are approaching from the Iowa border.

“You just don’t see that normally,” he said. “Weather patterns have definitely changed a little bit.”

In Martin County, Council Director Rochelle Krusemark finished harvesting her bean crop on Oct. 9. She said her yields varied unlike any previous soybean crop.

“It was so broad,” said Krusemark, who’s also a crop adjuster. “It is what it is.”

Krusemark has since turned to her corn crop. After getting a strong start to harvest, she’s ready to break for rain.

“We’re sitting good and I’m thankful. We need the rain,” she said. “We can stop for a couple days for rain.”

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