Farmers still harvesting in January

Farmers still harvesting in January
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:31 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Until the cold weather really kicked in earlier this month, you probably noticed how wet and soggy the ground has been since the fall.

One group of people especially impacted by the muddy, wet weather has been the farmers. You may have seen them in the fields over the past week, as many had to wait until the ground froze to take their crops off.

“Most of the time we’re done by Thanksgiving,” said Mike Schettenhelm, who partners with his father Fred on their farm near Milan, Michigan. “Once in a while, first week of December.”

Schettenhelm says that he and his father have had to wait well into the winter to harvest some of their crops before, but it’s been quite a while. The muddy and wet conditions didn’t just delay the harvest because farmers don’t want their equipment to get stuck, but they want to avoid cutting ruts in the fields that will cause them more work in the spring.

“It’s the extra tillage,” explained Schettenhelm. “And your window is so small in the spring to try and get that crop planted, if you have to do extra trips the cost and the stress of it just all adds in.”

Despite the cold and snow that crops across the area had to endure before being harvested, it actually doesn’t impact their yields as much as you would think.

“We’re probably losing 3-5% on some of the corn,” said Schettenhelm. “Soybeans are very minimal; they stand a lot better. The majority of the corn losses we’ve incurred was because of the windstorms that we had a few weeks ago.”

Schettenhelm says they finished taking off the soybeans on Tuesday, and they should finish up on the corn within a week. The wet weather during the fall also cut down the number of acres of wheat that some farmers could plant. But, with this farm in operation since 1955, the Schettenhelm family understands that every year is different.

“One year is drought, the next year’s a flood,” Schettenhelm said. “You know it’s just part of farming, and it’s just another day on the farm.”

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