Farmers benefit from late frost while facing challenges from recent rainfall


MONTPELIER, Ind. (WANE) – The first widespread frost of the season is the first signal that the growing season is coming to an end across northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.

This means it is time for local farmers to finish harvesting and begin preparing for the upcoming winter. With the first widespread frost coming so late in October, farmers have been able to prepare and harvest the majority of their crops. However, recent rainfall has made harvesting a challenge.

Brian Dollier, a farmer in southern Wells County, has been afforded more time to harvest his fields as a result of the later frost. The goal is to finish harvesting fields before the ground freezes and becomes too firm.

On the flip side, too soft ground conditions, as a result of recent rainfall, have been difficult to manage because the heavy harvesting equipment can sink into the ground. If fields are flooded or overly-saturated, the harvesting cannot be completed. This has been the case in the low-lying areas of Dollier’s fields. Dollier was able to harvest some of his corn in low spots before Sunday and Monday’s heavy rain, but the soybeans area down by the creek on his property remains incomplete. A combination of wind and rain can pose significant challenges. “What we wouldn’t want is a lot more rain with some high winds and not have the opportunity to complete the harvest. Corn can become brittle as time goes on and a good wind can knock it down and create some serious challenges to get it harvested,” says Dollier.

Dollier says the first widespread frost is actually a benefit this year, as it can act to firm up the ground a bit more and allow for excess water to runoff. In order to finish harvesting in flooded or low-lying areas, farmers are looking for dry and cool conditions. Time is running out for Dollier and other farmers to finish their harvesting before freezing conditions settle in and are here to stay.

Dollier also adds the supply chain issues are causing some concern among farmers, as a breakdown in equipment when the parts to fix or replace it are not readily available can delay harvesting even more.

After the growing season, Dollier takes his harvest to a nearby town and stores items for the winter. Time is then taken to decide what will be planted next season. This involves deciding on the amount of crops to be planted and the fertilization treatments that will be applied in the spring. Sometimes a fall spray or fall till is applied, but the rainfall this year may prevent that from occurring.

Ultimately, it is important to keep an eye on the harvesting situation. If too many crops go unharvested, this will impact the market prices in stores, says Dollier.

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