What’s next? A Halloween blizzard?


This wild year of extreme weather has taken a new turn. It’s so unseasonably warm the sugarbeet harvest in west-central and northwestern Minnesota has had to stop to prevent stacked beets from spoiling.

The Minnesota office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released its weekly crop-weather report at 3 p.m. Monday. It should show a big jump in soybean harvest progress and steady but early progress on the corn harvest.

But the sugarbeet harvest has gone from ahead of schedule to stopped in its tracks. Temperatures in the high 70s and topping 80 in some places are too high to stack sugarbeets without the tubers starting to deteriorate.

This comes after unusual September rains caused massive flooding across much of southern Minnesota leaving many fields too wet to support farm harvesting equipment.

Farmers around Elbow Lake in Grant County, Fergus Falls in Ottertail County, near Eden Valley in Stearns, Kandiyohi and Meeker counties, and in Renville County said over the weekend that they’ve made great progress combining soybean this past week. But they’ve had to leave low areas in fields that remain wet.

What all this means is that Minnesota still has a great crop out in the fields, and prices for major commodities are rising each day as weather problems cause harvest forecasts to fall in other parts of the country. But it will take farmers’ acquired skills to bring in the crop after the extreme weather Minnesota has experienced so far this fall.

From floods to heat waves, what more might happen? Any of you remember the great Halloween blizzard of not-so-many years ago? Another of those could really mess up a delayed harvest. The way things are going, don’t rule it out.