The Beacon News
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Mercer County sees better yields than was expected
By Kate Johnson
Mercer County and the rest of North Dakota expected to see some low numbers when this year’s yield came in. However, surprising numbers is what was seen after a summer of record heat and weeks without rain.
Mercer County Extension Agent Craig Askim said small grains -- wheat, barley and oats -- did come in below average. However, yields weren’t as low as was expected. As of right now, the projection is that those commodities are about 25 percent less than average.
Corn and sunflowers are still being harvested, with harvest only being halfway through for corn and a third of the way through for sunflowers. The typical issue for these crops is moisture. Farmers had to wait on a few cooler days before they began cutting the crops.
For corn, farmers desire moisture to be below 20 percent. In Mercer County, some areas were above that threshold because of heavy rains the area received in August. However, growth of these commodities was delayed because of the lack of rain leading up to late August.
Sunflowers farmers hope to see below 12 percent in moisture or drier. Askim said it is common for that low of moisture percentages not to occur in the field, which causes farmers to use dryers to reduce moisture levels in their commodities.