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As the sun sets on another day farmers throughout Toole County continue to wrap up a harvest that was heavily affected by drought, high temps and grasshoppers.

After a long, hot summer of drought, smoke and grasshoppers harvest got underway for many in the area at the end of July, first part of August, and is now wrapping up for another year. While yields have been lower for many than what they have been the prices are up this year, especially for pulse crops and durum wheat.

North Toole County farmer, Rex Tom-sheck, shared that while he did not suffer any hail damage this year, the long, hot summer definitely took its toll.

“Harvest was very short and dry this year, with yields from a quarter to half of the yield we got last year,” said Tomsheck. “The drought and crazy hot temperatures for an extended period of time are to blame.”

Kim Woodring, MSU Toole County Extension Agent, whose family, the Sutas, farm west of Shelby, shared much of the same.

“We didn’t get a lot of rain this year so a lot of what did grow was eaten by the plague of grasshoppers or damaged by hailstorms,” said Woodring. “Harvest has been different this year for many folks. Many farmers decided to swath their fields and bale their grain for livestock consumption. This was a risky practice too, because when those plants are stressed from drought or hail, the nitrate levels go up and that can be harmful for livestock.”

Farmers in western Toole County are also seeing lower yields than in prior years. 

“For our farm, I would say that we are pretty lucky to have a crop at all on the small amount of rain that we got,” said Woodring. “The showers that we have had the last few weeks have been really helpful! Everything has greened up and it will give farmers a chance to plant their winter crops. It also brought down the fire danger in the area.”

Harvest is quickly coming to an end and while many are not seeing the yields that they would prefer; all are trying to stay optimistic about what next year may bring. Farming is one of the oldest industries out there and also one of the toughest, if you’ve eaten today, thank a farmer!

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