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September 07, 2012 09:11 AM

An Early, Dry Harvest

Canton, SD

It's been the one of driest and hottest summers on record. Now a new page has turned in the drought disaster. Crops have started making their way to grain elevators more than a month early.

"I've never seen one like this," Canton Eastern Farmers Co-Op Manager Kevin Paulson said.

Late last week, the first trucks full of beans started rolling in at the Eastern Farmers Co-op grain elevator in Canton.

"To be harvesting anything in August, which we did last week, is crazy. Normally our bean harvest started October 1, corn the 20th of October. So a month plus ahead," Paulson said.

He says things look like they'll be much different this year. More corn will most likely be ready for harvest before beans because of the dry conditions. And the Canton elevator is geared up for a big crop. Something it won't see this year.

"We have less bushels to move, less margins to go with that. It becomes a lot of expense.  We have a lot of expense tied up in this elevator that just stays there year round whether we have bushels or not. So it will definitely have an affect on us going forward," Paulson said.

Paulson says in early spring, the elevator was geared up for a great crop. Then the drought hit.

"We had a bumper crop coming, you know, probably one of the biggest ones we've seen in this area.  You know, we have every row planted, everything looked good and then the rain just quit," Paulson said.

The rain never came back. Something he has never seen in his 30 years managing co-ops.

"We've had some other years that have been in this realm dry. But a different kind of dry, maybe were dry a little later or a little early, but this one kind of hit us right when it really took bushels off. So this will hopefully be a once in a generation thing," Paulson said.

Paulson also says despite a short crop, the elevator expects to have enough product to satisfy clients.
 

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