USDA: Sept. frost did less crop damage than first thoughtby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
Worthington, Minn. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest harvest estimate for Minnesota shows the September frost may not have caused as much damage as first feared.
State farmers reported the frost was hardest on their still-maturing soybeans. But the USDA's October outlook estimates the state's average soybean yield at 41 bushels an acre. That's unchanged from the previous forecast, which was issued before the frost hit.
But grain analysts say the frost damage may still show up in later calculations, after the harvest is complete.
"I had customers in west-central and northwest Minnesota that had a drop of eight to 10 bushels per acre because of the frost," said Al Kluis, a grain analyst in the Twin Cities. "I'm not sure that that was fully reflected in today's report."
The state's corn harvest was also left unchanged from a month ago, at a statewide average of 165 bushels an acre. That's a 7 percent drop from last year as too much rain, then a dry spell, cut yields. But since grain prices remain high, it will still be a profitable harvest for the state's $12 billion corn and soybean industry.