Farmers hoping temps stay warm to finish out the corn harvest

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A late planting season usually means a late harvest. This year, with corn and soybeans needing a few weeks of heat, farmers are wondering if Mother Nature will give them a late winter.

North Dakota corn caught a break this year getting plenty of rain. Now farmers like Rick Schmidt want the heat to come back to finish out the corn crop. He says the plants are few weeks from reaching full maturity.

"There's starch buildup down here (at the base of a split kernel) but the top part of the kernel is still pretty vacant or there's not any meat,” said Rick Schmidt, Oliver County Extension Agent.

A late planting season means corn hasn't had enough heat to grow compared to a normal year. As long as the weather stays warm, the yields should be ok. Early frost would mean big losses.

"We can expect to lose maybe 15 percent of our yield if we would get a frost sometime prior to, let's say the 5th of October,” said October.

Even if the frost holds off, the corn's water content needs to go down low enough to get combined and stored. Farmers might have to spend money and time drying the crop so it can be stashed away. If you pack a grain bin with wet corn, Schmidt says you'll lose it all.

"It'll lead to mold. Then you get heating in your grain bins. Then you basically have a gain bin full of spoilage and that does nobody any good,” said Schmidt.

Because of all the moisture, Schmidt expects farmers will be combining corn well into November.