October 17, 2019

Advice From the Field: Turning Challenging Seasons Into Lessons

Across the country, wheat farmers were faced with numerous challenges this year. Whether it was insect or disease control, commodity prices, or Mother Nature’s unpredictable weather, they were handed all of it. Yet they still persevered, as farmers do each year.

We spoke with WestBred Technical Product Manager of the Northern Region Grant Mehring to hear what he learned from this year and how he will apply it to upcoming seasons.

Grant Mehring:

The year 2019 in the northern Plains saw a widespread phenomenon of well-above-average moisture in the months of August, September and October. This event has already been called a “black swan” by meteorologists, meaning that the increased moisture we saw during this period may never be repeated for years to come.

This moisture coupled with relatively high humidities and just average temperatures caused many harvest issues.

These issues spanned the spectrum from:

●      Preharvest sprouting and falling number dockage

●      More time for DON to increase in scabby grain

●      Breakdown of wheat plant

●      Slow and delayed harvest as grain moisture refused to drop

●      Abandonment of far more wheat acres than typical, especially in North Dakota


Photo by Grand Mehring

The year 2019 was a year to learn about individual operation’s harvest efficiency and how to manage through wet wheat grain and wet fields. These conditions are not something we are generally used to at harvest.

Looking forward to 2020, I recommend taking some time to think about how to react to grain that doesn’t seem to be drying and soils that just aren’t quite trafficable.

It’s something to learn from and benefit from in the future.

What have you learned from this year’s season? What will you do differently next year? Leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter.