What is your initial impression of this year's harvest?
Published November 1, 2004 | November 2004 issue
Overall things look pretty good. We're looking at a relatively quick and inexpensive sugar beet harvest this year. The harvest may be a little smaller than usual, thanks to the cooler summer we've had. And there are also some concerns about the sugar content owing as well to the weather over the summer.
Steve Williams, Sugar Beet Farmer and President,
Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association
The quality in our test wheat has been just superb. The proteins have been good. They've not been what you'd call ultra-high, but they've been good. Other than [being] a struggle and probably the most expensive crop I've ever tried to produce in my life [because of higher fuel costs and weather-related growing problems], it's been a good wheat harvest. And there's still a lot of wheat to be harvested. I'm about 80 miles from the Canadian border, but as you go north I'm sure that we have huge acres that froze. I don't know what will happen to that, because there was some very, very late seeded wheat in the country. ... It was a very unusual season because we had wheat that was in the ground 130 days before it was harvested [because of cool weather]. Ninety days is it for wheat.
Larry Lee, Wheat Grower and Former Chairman,
North Dakota Wheat Commission
My crop had excellent quality. The summer weather in Montana here was really ideal. We had timely rains and not real high temperatures. So, warm days and cool nights, that's what a potato likes. We had really a beautiful growing season, so the crop came in nice. It looks very nice; It's a nice size [and] the yield I'd say was better than average.
Eugene Cole, Seed Potato Grower
The quality looks very promising. ... It's been a wild one, that's for sure. Early on we were on the dry side, but we're catching some timely rains that saved us through the summer, and in August we finally picked up some real good moisture, that's what made the crop. Of course, all of the Dakotas were very cool in growing season, so it's put us behind. ... In general, the crops look good, but in central South Dakota there was quite a bit of damage [from a big storm] in August and there's reports of up to 20 percent loss due to stalk breakage.
Tom Young, Sunflower Grower and Crop Adviser
Basically, our hay crop was fairly good. Our first- cutting hay was good in quantity but quality may be less than average. But overall our forage harvest went well. Small grain is mixed; some small grains went well and not so well. Corn is way behind; we had a much cooler than normal summer and the corn crop is way behind.
Warren Schauer, Michigan State University Extension Agent
It's really too early to tell but I could give you some of my professional guesstimates. The [soy]beans that were planted timely are looking like there's going to be a pretty decent yield. I think it's probably a little better than average at this point. ... There's quite a dichotomy as far as the early-planted vs. the late-planted; the late-planted aren't going to do very well, because they were still immature when we got the beginning frost here last week. Overall, I think our soybean harvest will definitely be significantly better than last year and probably a little bit higher-than-average yield as a whole. ... We've got some fields that had some pretty significant loss because of white mold. If anything is going to keep the yields trended down it's that, and it tends to attack high-producing high-yield fields. ... Insects were basically a no-show this year, which is great, but diseases are a problem.
Tom Perlick, Soybean Grower and Agronomist
Editor's Note: Interviews were conducted in early October.