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Forum editorial: November smiles on the region

Sometimes Mother Nature has a way of assuring us she's with us. November's unseasonably warm, dry weather is in stark contrast to one of the wettest, coolest Octobers on record in the Red River Valley. October weather resulted in nearly unprecede...

Sometimes Mother Nature has a way of assuring us she's with us.

November's unseasonably warm, dry weather is in stark contrast to one of the wettest, coolest Octobers on record in the Red River Valley. October weather resulted in nearly unprecedented harvest delays, spurring fears that millions of dollars worth of sugar beets, soybeans and corn would never come off the rain-soaked fields. What a difference a couple of weeks made.

November, which usually is a transitional month when weather goes from relatively balmy to downright cold, has felt like a normal October. Temperatures the first half of November have ranged near 20 degrees above seasonal averages. Indeed, nighttime lows were in the range of normal daytime highs.

But the most welcome weather this month has been dry air and sunny skies. Rainfall has been absent and warmer-than-normal breezes have dried the October-soaked fields. Farmers have been putting in long hours to catch up on harvest. Progress has been excellent. Sugar beets are in; the soybean harvest is nearing completion; the combines have moved into the cornfields.

Early indications are sugar beet quality - sugar content - is good. The verdict is out on soybeans, as crop quality and yields appear to be quite variable. Corn, which has been standing too long in the field, is wet, and much of the crop will have to be dried before going to market or into bins. Many producers are reporting mold in the corn crop, which can affect quality and price. Yield, however, looks good, considering late planting because of a cool, wet spring.

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While the long-delayed harvest got moving at full speed this month, some parts of the area are so wet that machinery still can't get into the fields. In other areas, wet conditions prevented planting. So even with favorable November weather, the harvest picture is not bright everywhere.

But it is brighter than it was just a few weeks ago, when it seemed the rain would never let up. That's good news for the people of the Red River Valley because farming remains a mainstay of the region's economy.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board.

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