Combines are humming; dust is blowing

Sandy Sheppard picks up soybeans from her husband, Brendan, in the combine this past week along Hwy 32 outside of Flandreau. The Sheppards are pleasantly surprised that the crop this year is coming in at a higher yield than they might have expected with the drought.

“Harvest is going really well,” said local farmer Sandy Sheppard. It was early in the morning this past Tuesday and Sheppard was waiting for the signal she was needed again with the grain cart. Her husband, Brendan, wasn’t far away in a combine in one of the fields the family farms just west of Flandreau and the hopper was filing up fast with each pass.
“Yields are higher than expected for a drought year,” she said, with a smile as she saw the auger out waiting for her and the combine headlights flashing. It was time to make her way back out into the field alongside him.
“And, it’s been beautiful weather. Usually with bean harvest you have to wait until the pods dry down, so many times you can’t start until afternoon and then you only have until it gets dewy at night — so you don’t have a good chunk of time. To be started now in the morning, it’s really good just because the wind is already blowing and the sun is out. Picking up on the go saves him time.”
The Sheppards feel fortunate as so many others in the region are looking at losses. A myriad of drought conditions remain from western Minnesota into the Dakotas and south to Texas. Corn, especially, is taking a hit this year. Many are opting to turn what little did grow into silage. Alfalfa production is also significantly down. Ag experts predict this will create some tough conditions for farmers and cattle and other livestock producers as we head toward winter. We’ll have more on the local harvest and the impact of what farmers are seeing in the coming weeks.

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