Planting and harvest season one in the same for farmers

Published: May. 23, 2020 at 6:11 PM CDT
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Crops still stand in fields across the Valley thanks to last year's debacle with mother nature.

Harvest season and planting season are taking place at the same time for many farmers, as they roll the dice and hope to avoid another year like the last.

"We harvested a couple-hundred acres of our corn in March this year," Arthur Farmer Kevin Skunes says. "I don't care to ever do that again."

Even with an ideal spring, farmers were going to start behind--and conditions in North Dakota have been anything but.

For Skunes, he was able to start planting Monday.

Saturday will be his last--only planting 40 percent of their intended corn.

For others, it was even less.

"We just don't feel the risk in planting later is worth the yield loss we are going to get from planting this late," Skunes says.

They've also got about 40 acres left standing from last year that won't be harvested.

Farmers are doing what they can, but many will have to take preventive plant insurance.

"For those acres, we won't buy any inputs from our local elevators and we won't buy as much fuel," he says. "It's going to hurt the whole community."

Seasonal challenges grow deeper for farmers amidst the pandemic.

It's pushing down commodity prices.

Skunes says it may lower the price tag for shoppers, but farmers will take a cut.

In a lifetime of farming, Skunes has learned some things are out of his hands.

But whatever comes next, they'll do as farmers do, adapt and keep moving forward.

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