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'We Are Pleasantly Surprised': Minnesota's Corn, Soybean Yields Better Than Expected

CARVER CO., Minn. (WCCO) -- The rain Wednesday will keep farmers out of their fields, at least for a little while. But, overall, corn and soybean harvests have gone pretty smoothly across the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said more than 90% of soybeans and about 65% of corn has been harvested.

An October rain gives Bill Lueth a quick break from his fall harvest. He grows corn and soybeans an hour west of Minneapolis in Carver County.

"This is a risky business and we rely on the weather all the time, and you're always concerned," Lueth said.

Much of the growing season was so dry it was being compared to the drought of 1988, a bad year for farmers in the Midwest. But as August turned into September, things took a turn for the better.

"I would say we are pleasantly surprised. Very fortunate with the way yields turned out, considering how it started and how we felt it might end up. It's been much better than we thought," Lueth said.

There were a number of contributing factors that saved the corn crop for many Minnesota farmers. Late summer and early fall rains were key.

"We've had corn in some areas where farmers have been in the neighborhood of 200 bushels plus," said Dave Nicolai, of University of Minnesota Extension.

That's well above the national average. Nicolai points out that not every part of the state was quite so lucky- especially northern Minnesota were the drought lasted longer.

But overall, Mother Nature and modern genetics when it comes to corn and soybean seeds, have turned concern into relief.

"We expect that both crops by the end of October or Halloween will be fairly well harvested across the state of Minnesota," said Nicolai.

Nicolai said farmers could use some frost right now to even out their soybeans so they can finish harvesting them.

He said a better than expected harvest could help provide stability when it comes to food prices.

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