Snow storm adding more moisture farmers can’t use

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OLIVER COUNTY, N.D. - The calendar says it's Halloween season, but look outside and you'll think it’s closer to Christmas. The snow storm is inconvenient to some, but could mean big trouble for North Dakota farmers, especially when it melts.

Even when it's snowing, Mikael Schmidt is out in a soybean field checking on his crop.

"It's been a battle all year long and it looks like it's going to be a battle to the end,” said Mikael.

Planting was late, temperatures were cooler and there was more moisture than the plants could use. Now a snow storm threatens to push the harvest even further behind schedule.

"On certain crops, like soybeans where we have to get so close to the ground to get the beans off the ground, obviously we need the snow to be gone to harvest that crop,” said Rick Schmidt, Oliver County extension agent.

Even when the snow does melt, there's nowhere for the moisture to go.

"The corn fields are overly saturated and the bean fields are overly saturated. We've got hay out in the fields that we are not going to be able to get until it freezes up,” said Mikael.

Every delay now is magnified by the fact North Dakota is quickly running out of chances for warm days.

"I would say farmers do need to be planning on how to figure out how to dry their corn at this point,” said Rick.

After a month of being still, he's hopeful he'll get his combine running in the field again.

"You know, we've got an above average crop out there. We're going to make every effort we can to get it. Crop insurance doesn't pay the bills and the bills keep coming and we're going to make an attempt to go get it,” said Mikael.

Rick says one of the other crops that could be in real danger are sunflowers. Since the heads are so large, they could catch more snow and actually break the plant if it is too much.