DANBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Rainy weather has presented a challenge for Michigan soybean farmers who are trying to harvest their crops.
Farmers were dealing with unusually dry weather just months ago. Now, they are getting rain at a time when they need the crops to dry out for harvest.
Jeff Sandborn said his fields near Portland should produce a yield better than he expected but he will have to wait until conditions improve to gather it.
“(The rain) needs to stop so we can actually harvest,” Sandborn said. “If the sun was shining and the wind was blowing, I’d be headed to the combine, which I’ve got one sitting in the field waiting to go.”
He has harvested about 10% of the crop and rainy weather means more delays.
“The beans need to be dry, you need to be able to crack them open with your hands for the combine to be able to harvest the bean that’s inside the pod,” Sandborn said. “And then the next step, if it’s been rained on for a while like it is now, the beans themselves will be wet, you’ve got to dry them.”
Farmers across the state have dealt with especially challenging weather this year, according to Theresa Sisung, an industry relations specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau.
“It’s been through kind of just about everything, it seems like. We were wet, so a little late getting in and then we were really hot and dry for a while and then we cooled off some, so we’re a little bit behind in terms of maturity and development, and then now it’s raining,” Sisung said.
The Michigan Farm Bureau said one of the biggest concerns is mold on some the crop.
“I think they’re anticipating soybean yields down a little bit and part of that is the stress early on with being so dry, and then also a big part of it is the heavy white mold that we had. I mean, I’ve heard a lot of growers say it’s the worst white mold they’ve had in their careers,” Sisung said.
Still, farmers are staying optimistic.
“The yields so far, we’ve done are better than expected,” Sandborn said. “Sunshine all day long and a nice breeze and then we’ll be back in the fields.”
The delays will mean a less time to finish the harvest this year.
“In Michigan, we can get snow, accumulating snow, in Mid-November so as our window gets tighter things are going to ramp up and you’re going to see when we can get in the field farmers are going to be farming, combining late in the evening, early in the morning. Just to get the job done,” Sandborn said.