FARGO — "It won't be that record, you know, boom to their farm operation that some were hoping for," said Jean Henning, executive director for the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
Henning was referencing the corn crop yield farmers were hoping for in 2021 after they dealt with snow-covered crops in 2019, leaving some of the 3.1 million acres of corn planted stuck in the ground.
In 2020, corn growers were only able to plant 1.8 million a acres..
"We saw record prevent plant acres in North Dakota, simply because the crop was left in the field from the prior year," Henning said.
Instead of a banner year, 2021 brought drought conditions all summer that are continuing into fall.
The drought cut yield down to an estimated 108 bushels per acre — that's much less than last year's 139 bushels.
Even with the lower yields, Henning is hoping some growers can cut their losses with prices soaring due to demand from abroad.
Corn growers aren't the only ones feeling strained.
The past three years have been difficult for sugar beets, as well.
"Sugar beets take a toll on growers mentally as well as physically on their equipment on their farms and their families. But we got a resilient group of growers," said Harrison Weber with the Red River Valley Sugarbeet growers association.
A resilient crop, sugar beets aren't as impacted by dry conditions.
Weber said wet years are tougher to take.
"In 2019, you know, a situation that we've never seen in our Co-op at American Crystal, a situation we hope to never see again, we left a third of the crop in the ground," Weber said.
While 2020 and 2021 were kinder to sugar beets, Weber said both years have been or are projected to be below average.