By Kris Folland, Field Services Manager
with Field Services Staff
At year’s end, when reporting to longtime General Manager Cindy Wippler, we used to say, “It sure was an interesting year.” Her standard response was, “The field staff says that every year!” Well, for MCIA members and producers, the 2022 growing season was one to remember. Working in a state with such diverse geography and large size—it is 546 miles from Humboldt to Spring Grove—it is likely that Minnesota growers did have a little bit of everything to report. Following are notes from our field staff.
SOUTHWEST: Wet and cold conditions in April and the first half of May led to late planting of all crops. Thunderstorms to the west caused devasting wind damage to grain storage bins and sheds. Compaction issues early in the growing season led to varying maturities and lower yields come harvest time. The summer months brought near drought conditions to many areas. Areas north of Redwood Falls up to Willmar received good rains in August to help fill out soybeans. The areas to the south and west continued to be dry to near drought conditions. Fall was very dry with no breaks during harvest. Small grain yields were average with good quality. Soybean yields were average, in the low 50s across the area, while corn yielded very well despite the drought. The dry conditions were tough on tillage equipment—digger points and sheer pins were changed out often. Many farmers are concerned about a lack of sub-soil moisture going into next spring. Overall, many producers were pleasantly surprised with their yields. Crop prices remain high, contributing to another successful year.
SOUTHEAST: The area was warm and generally dry with variable yields, depending on timeliness of the limited moisture that was received. Planting was later than normal. Harvest was mostly uninterrupted due to the dry fall. Fall fertilizer application and tillage were done in a timely manner with dry ground conditions. Most producers were very satisfied with the year, but dry was definitely the theme.
CENTRAL: The entire area was highly variable but seemed to average out to be a respectable year. The areas that tend to be dry were dry and the heavy soil areas had adequate moisture throughout. Yields and quality of small grains were good overall. Soybeans and corn were average to excellent across the region. The long fall was excellent to finish the crop prior to any frost. There was less interest in noxious weed–seed free forage and mulch, due to the completion of a major pipeline project last year. Growers who produce certified seed maximized their small grain acres through certification. High corn prices definitely took away some traditional small grains acres. Soybean seed growers also were very committed to producing as many acres as their contracts would allow. Corn seed producers reported a very stable year, which tends to be the norm in their more controlled field environments. Wheat growers have been reporting good yields with MN-Torgy and MN-Rothsay.
NORTH: “Unreal,” “unbelievable,” “once in a lifetime,” and “very fortunate” are words growers have used to describe the year. With record late planting and very high crop prices, growers forged ahead with planting well into June. The calendar stayed in sync with producers and most finished planting around June 15. When small grains harvest rolled around, a month later than usual, growers reported a crop that was anywhere from average to excellent. Soybean and corn yields were rated good to excellent. It is a year to feel thankful when planting is delayed from four to six and yet a cool season grass, warm season grass, and legumes produce good yields. The perennial grass crops overwintered well and were harvested in a timely manner. Good to excellent yields were reported and quality is right in line with most years. For some growers, there were delays in harvest due to maturity and late rains, but, overall, it was a good year. Noxious weed seed–free forage and mulch acres were lower. The supply appears adequate, although there is certainly not an overabundance of bales. Native seed producers and other minor crops all reported a good year and harvest for all went well. Quality and supply of all appears to be good for the year.