Late corn harvest in ND

By  | 

It's December and North Dakota has already received several inches of snow, but lots of corn stocks are still standing across state. Drought conditions delayed development of the crop, and with prices bottoming out, some farmers aren't planning on harvesting until next spring.

The pace of the corn harvest in North Dakota has been slow and steady. Most of the crop has been cut, but hundreds of acres are still standing.

"You look around and there's quite a bit of corn around the country and I've talked to a few guys and they're still 18, 19, 20 plus moisture and a lot of people don't have air dryers to put it in and dry it down," said Burleigh County farmer Michael Rogstad.

Rogstad does have dryers and he's cutting his crop before it snows again.

Rogstead is usually finished combining corn by mid November, but this year's drought slowed crop progress, then an early frost further stifled its dry down.

"Once it freezes it's harder to bring that moisture down, it's coming down still, but rather than losing a point a day, we're maybe losing a point a month," said Eric Basnett, CHS South Central Grain.

Rogstad says the corn that's left standing isn't worth drying. "It's really not a money maker this year, and every penny you've got to put into drying it or harvesting it, it's money out of your pocket," he said.

With low prices, some farmers are opting to let the crop stand, and risk having it dry down over the winter.

Basnett said: "There's a yield loss. You could lose up to 50 percent of your yield, it's not a good thing especially with prices where they are at. But again, with the prices where they are at, a lot of guys don't want to pay the drying charges."

So for some farmers, Mother Nature will be responsible for getting the crop ready to cut next spring.

There were 3.4 million acres of corn were planted in North Dakota this year, 97 percent has been harvested.

Despite the drought, near record yields are being reported. The statewide average is 134 bushels to an acre, the second highest on record. Last year's mark was 158 bushels an acre, an all time high yield.