Innovations in the Field

Sponsored by BASF

Welcome to the 2017 BASF Innovations in the Field. This yearlong program is designed to showcase four progressive farmers and their use of technology and agronomic practices to enhance their return on investment and profit potential. Check back each week for new blogs and videos from the farmers as they share their experiences and crop management decisions throughout the growing season. Here is a brief overview of our four participants.

Scott Wettstein

Lidgerwood, North Dakota

Scott Wettstein

Blog Entry #10: November 30, 2017

Harvest Underway

Hello again from southeastern North Dakota. This fall has been a roller coaster. Since my last blog, we have harvested our entire crop. It was a relief to finally have the crop in the bin. We were able to do some fall tillage. We are expecting a hard freeze very soon, and feel comfortable with our field conditions going into spring. We have started cleaning up equipment, and will soon be bringing things in the shop for winter maintenance.

Looking back, this will be a fall that many farmers will be talking about for a long time. Mother Nature kept presenting challenge after challenge. We combined in a lot of cold and high winds, sometimes followed by rain or snow. One day alone I think we had 15 mini-snowstorms. It would go from sunshine to whiteout conditions. We did what we could, and worked on a day-by-day basis. Many days we had to quit early and head to the shop because the snow would stick to the sieves of the combine. We were not able to start early in the day either because frost on the corn plants would cause the same problem.

This made for a long, drawn out harvest. We were very fortunate, however. Just a few miles east of our farm, heavy fall rains and Fargo clay made for tough harvest conditions, combined with mud. We were fortunate to not have this added stress, and were able to finish harvest. These areas will still be harvesting for the next couple weeks.

All in all, the crop was very good. Our soybean crop was 5 bushels below 2016, and our corn was 15 bushels less across the farm. We thought yields were fantastic considering our growing conditions. I think that if we had had a more normal August and September, we would have had even better yields than 2016. The later season beans did not have the large seed size we normally see, and our longer maturing corn hybrids didn't have the heavy test weights we normally see.

Fall tillage has been a challenge. We had warm temperatures that were followed by below average cold weather. Below average temperatures combined with fall precipitation did not allow for much fall fertility to get applied. The ground actually froze for 4 to 5 days, but we were fortunate to have 3 to 4 days of 40-degree weather to thaw things back out and allow a 5 day window for us to get some corn stalks incorporated. This week is probably the last week any tillage will get done. We are forecast to have temperatures drop into the 20s at the end of the week, with no sign of warmer temperatures.