With crops behind schedule, harvest concerns grow

After a brutal winter and an unusually rainy spring, warm days and moderate nights are now a crop farmer’s best friend.

“All of this has created a tremendous amount of stress on a lot of farmers and farm families,” Fran Miron told FOX 9 as he stood in his hunter green soybean field. "This was really an exception this year that we weren’t able to get into this ground because of this wetness."

This year’s excess rain only allowed Miron to plant about half of the crops he normally does.

“As you look in the distance, some of the corn where we actually were able to plant, but the ground was too wet, how stunted that corn is,” Miron shared.

Yet, he’s among the lucky farmers.

As a farmer for 43 years, Miron’s always felt more rain was better than not enough. This year, any additional wicked weather could wash away profits.

“An early frost, an early fall, it’s going to be devastating particularly on the corn crop since we’re probably three weeks behind schedule.”

Meanwhile, at the University of Minnesota Extension in St. Paul, the next generation of crops advisors take a lesson from corn agronomist Jeff Coulter, P.h.D.

“We want to have days like this in October where we can get some good drying of this corn before it’s harvested," said Coulter. "They may not be harvesting until mid-October, a lot of this, maybe even later than that."

Worse, crops educators say a wet harvest could leave many, especially young farmers, in dire financial straits.

“The cost of drying corn can be astronomical. It can almost cover the cost of building a new house if you have enough acres,” nodded Coulter.

Back in Hugo, Miron’s 350 farm animals weigh heavily on his mind.

“Our big concern is to make sure we have adequate forage and livestock that we have to feed,” he said.

Even established farmers like Miron now expect to pay out more than they bring in to keep operations strong. 

“We’re also suffering from low milk prices right now, so it’s really hard to predict,” said Miron.

While hoping Mother Nature falls back on wreaking harvest havoc, Miron prepares for the worst.

“This is a year we’re going to struggle a little more,” he shared.

As it stands, farmers in southwestern Minnesota are especially worried. There, farmers had to plant extremely late or couldn’t plant any corn at all.