Thrashing through the snow


MOUNT VERNON, S.D. (KELO) — It may be winter, but try telling that to some area farmers, who are still trying to get crops out of the fields.

In the snowy fields of South Dakota, you won’t find any reindeer, but you might see a few John Deere dashing through the snow to finish up harvest.

Jim Lorang of Mount Vernon, who has thousands of acres, has been running his combine day and night.

“Last night we went til 9:30 p.m., we finished the field got done about 9:30 p.m. and moved over here,” Jim said.

Jim farms with his brother Nick.

They say this is the latest they’ve ever picked corn and with snow on the ground, it makes it even more of a challenge.

“This year you really can’t tell what’s frozen underneath, because we had about eight inches of snow, so you just keep driving and hope you don’t find a deep water puddle,” Jim said.

Speaking of water, the corn is wet. The moisture content is about 19% right now. That’s not good.

Back at their grain bins, the Lorangs are using a drier to get the moisture level down to around 16% or lower, but that costs money.

“Every time we think we’re gonna get ahead, we get weather, you know it rains or snows or something,” Nick said.

“We probably could have prevent planted it, but it was going so, we just kept fighting it and planted, and that’s why we’re so late and the moisture is so high, so we just ran out of time,” Nick Lorang said.

Now they’re stuck combining in the snow and cold, not ideal for harvesting; especially when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate.

“You know like the other night we got that foggy misty stuff and then it froze. Well then that ices up the combines and then you can’t do nothing anyway, so you gotta wait for that to melt off, and then you know when it melts off, then we get like the other day it was 40 degrees, the roads are muddy, fields muddy, we can’t get into the fields with the trucks,” Nick said. “So, makes it icy, like now, the gravel roads are so icy. You know we can’t get rid of that ice, so it’s hard to get around with the trucks, you know, because it’s just a sheet of ice.”

They’re not alone. We put out a message on social media asking for other farmers to share their late harvest experiences with us. We got video and pictures from a lot of people in northern South Dakota, who are also still trying to get their corn out.

“When we started this spring, we knew it probably wasn’t going to be fun,” Nick said.

“When we get done here, we should have about 700 acres left so hopefully if things go well, we should be done by the weekend,” Jim said.

“I guess that’s what we’re here to do, I guess right and if it was easy everybody would be doing it,” Nick said.

According to South Dakota’s most recent weekly crop report, 83% of the state’s corn has been harvested.

If you need someone to talk to during this stressful time — Avera Behavioral Health has a free and confidential Farm and Rural Stress hotline. The number is 1-800-691-4336.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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