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Corn, soybean yields down but still a good crop

Most soybean fields, like this one north of Kensington were harvested in October but corn harvest was behind schedule for many Minnesota farmers this fall. (Jeff Beach / Echo Press)

Minnesota soybean and corn production is expected to be down, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farmers in Minnesota have most of their corn harvested for the season, but they are behind last year's pace, according to data released last week by the USDA.

Minnesota farmers, who harvested 79 percent of their crop as of Saturday, were about 12 days behind the five-year average and well behind the 93 percent harvested at that time last year, USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service said.

The soybean harvest wrapped up in early November, about the same time as last year, according to the USDA.

As is the case statewide, soybean yields are down in Douglas County.

"Soybean yields are down 10 to 15 percent from last year," said Tim Louthen, grain merchandiser at Pro-Ag Farmers Co-Op in Brandon.

The USDA predicted last week that Minnesota should produce 1.45 billion bushels of corn, down 6 percent from last year.

Yields in Minnesota are forecast to average 190 bushels per acre, up 6 bushels from 2016, according to the report.

Soybean production in Minnesota is forecast at 373 million bushels, slightly below last year's production, according to the report. Average yields for the crop in Minnesota should see no change with 46 bushels per acre, the report said.

Yields are down from last year, but Louthen says the crop is still good overall.

"In general it's a pretty good crop for corn and soybeans," he said. "Farmers are still getting more bushels than their five-year averages."

Minnesota's potato production is expected to be up 12 percent increase from last year. Growers are expected to harvest 45,500 acres, up 3,500 acres from last year.

The quality of potatoes also is expected to be better than recent years, industry leaders said.

Sugar beet production in Minnesota is projected to hit a record high of 12.7 million tons, up 2 percent from the record set last year, according to the USDA. Minnesota is expected to harvest 411,000 acres of beets, about 6,000 less than last year.

Beth Leipholtz contributed to this report.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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