Soybeans, Harvest And “Casablanca”

On a gloomy day in November 2009, I drove through Clay County in west-central Minnesota and saw field after field of unharvested soybeans. If memory serves, only 5 or 10 percent of soybeans in the county were harvested at a time when farmers  should have been finishing up their beans. The soybeans themselves had been ready for weeks, but fields were just too wet for equipment to get in.

Farmers in the area were polite but clearly stressed by their long wait. I remember thinking  of an opening line from the great movie “Casablanca.” The narrator, drawing out the second half of the sentence, says: “But the others wait in Casablanca, and wait and wait and wait.”

This year is vastly different. A few area farmers already have begun soybean harvest, several weeks ahead of normal, and I’m told the pace will pick up sharply next week, weather permitting.

It will be interesting to see how area soybeans fared in this drought-stricken year; smart people have given me differing predictions of what to expect. But I’m sure of one thing: starting early on soybeans is less stressful than being forced to wait until November.