Hannibal Courier-Post

Cold, wet fields contribute to slow harvest season

A Marion County farmer harvests corn near Highway 168. Farmers in Northeast Missouri are in the midst of harvest season, but precipitation and recent temperatures 15 to 20 degrees cooler than normal have made it a challenge to harvest wet crops in fields that are becoming slippery from the added moisture.
TREVOR MCDONALD/COURIER-POST
By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Nov. 5, 2019 5:30 pm

PALMYRA, Mo. — Farmers in Northeast Missouri have witnessed a year filled with weather extremes, and harvest season continues to pose challenges as recent rainfall and snow and cooler temperatures hit the area.

Marion County Farm Bureau President Joe Kendrick said that some of his neighbors have harvested their crops already, and he has begun the to pull crops from his fields. Temperatures are about 15 to 20 degrees cooler than average for this time of the year, and rainfall coupled with Thursday's snow have brought challenges for farmers who are eager to harvest their crops like corn and soybeans. Following a wet and cool spring marked by flooding and substantial rainfall, Kendrick said that the crop yields were fair and a bit better than farmers were initially expecting.

“Of course with the snow, it's going to take a few days to get things dried back out here,” he said.

Kendrick is looking ahead to a forecast of sun and wind that could help dry out the crops and the fields. The twofold situation means the crops will need to be dried, and slippery ground has made it challenging for many farmers to complete harvests.

Fellow Palmyra area farmerKenny Lovelace echoed Kendrick's observations that many of soybean and corn crops were too wet. He and his cousin did some preventative planting this season, and those earlier crops seemed to have dried out better.

Lovelace is concerned that the ground may get too soft if the area receives more rain.

He said he'd seen the same type of yields in the area, and some parts of the Missouri even experienced yields that were above normal. He and Kendrick both noted that prices had risen a bit — particularly for soybeans. The price futures for those crops and other agricultural products will be affected by upcoming trade talks between the U.S. and China.

Kendrick said weather forecasts call for winds and sun that he hopes will dry the ground and make it easier to harvest crops. The National Weather Service calls for a sunny Tuesday with a high of 51 degrees and a low of 31 degrees. Wednesday's high is expected to be about 60 with some sunshine, but there is a chance of rain or snow by early Thursday and lower temperatures.

Kendrick said no matter what the weather brings in the coming days, local farmers are prepared to find a way to finish the harvest as soon as the time is right.

“It's a typical year of uncertainty and dealing with whatever Mother Nature sends our way,” Kendrick said.

 

tmcdonald@courierpost.com