Podcast Episode 25

Harvest Check-in 2021: Western Minnesota

With Guest:
  • Dylan Erickson, Farmer

This fall, the Water Table podcast is talking to farmers from all over the Midwest to get real-time updates on this year’s harvest. Host Jamie Duininck makes calls to producers harvesting all types of crops to learn how this year’s weather conditions along with factors such as subsurface drainage are impacting yields. Dylan Erickson, a farmer in western Minnesota, joins Jamie in part 2 of this 4 part series.

Episode 25 | 10:26 min

Guest Bio

Dylan Erickson, a farmer in western Minnesota.

Jamie Duininck (00:02):
This is the water table.

Kent R. (00:05):
A chance to hear the agricultural side of these issues.

Jamie Duininck (00:09):
A place for people to go find information and education.

Matt H. (00:13):
Water management is just going to become even more critical into the future.

Jamie Duininck (00:17):
How misunderstood what we do is.

Kent R. (00:17):
I would encourage people to open their minds and listen to this dialogue.

Jamie Duininck (00:37):
Welcome to the Water Table Podcast. As you know, if you’ve been listening this week, we are just talking to farmers each day this week to see what’s going on with the harvest 2021. Yesterday, we talked to Jeff Hewitt in Perry, Iowa. Today. I have Dylan Erickson on the phone from Western Minnesota, and want Dylan to just kind of tell us what’s going on out in the field and how harvest is going. Welcome Dylan.

Dylan Erickson (01:02):
Hey Jamie, thanks for having me. Yeah, we’re picking corn right now as we speak. We had a pretty… I don’t know, it seems fast, I guess, bean harvest. We got done right before we caught that couple inches of rain out our way and then we had to sit wait a little bit and we switched over to corn and now we’ve been going pretty good on that. I guess some of the earlier maturity corn has been running anywhere from 14 to 16, 17%. So, it’s been hauling a lot of it, actually, right to the elevator, dumping it right in the bin.

Dylan Erickson (01:32):
We haven’t even fired up our dryer yet. I know we [inaudible 00:01:35] take a little bit of later stuff and I think that corn generally is going to be a little better because I think it used maybe some of that last rain, helping along a little more and add some yields to it. So, but that was a little bit wetter. That’s more the 18, 19, 20%. So, that’s going to probably stand for a little bit and we’ll do some of the other varieties earlier, variety corns, and keep chugging away, I guess.

Jamie Duininck (01:59):
You’re right. I’ve been hearing a lot of different things in the field on yields and how was the bean harvest out in Western Minnesota?

Dylan Erickson (02:06):
Yeah, it was kind of all over the board. We had some really excellent yields. We got up into the 70 bushel range for average on some couple fields, and then we also were down in the 30 to 35 range too on some sandier ground or some hills and they just kind of ran out of moisture and burnt up kind of quick. And then we did get some of that later rain on it, though, in August and they started greening back up a little bit, some of the really stressed plants and it was kind of interesting to see that. So, it made it for a little tougher combine at times too. We’re really grounding it through the combine a little bit and the beans were dry. It’s just stems were a little tough, but took our time and made it through and yeah. So, overall it went well. Guess probably for our farm we’re probably right in the 50 to mid-fifties range on the average for the farm for the soybean. So, definitely better than expected if you asked me June, July.

Jamie Duininck (02:59):
Yeah. Yeah. Pretty fortunate in what you ended up with there.

Dylan Erickson (03:03):
Yeah, absolutely.

Jamie Duininck (03:04):
How about after you seen the corn now? You’ve only been into the corn for less than a week, but what are you seeing there?

Dylan Erickson (03:12):
Yeah. Again, it’s going to be a pleasant surprise, I think, for a lot of guys. The corn’s running anywhere from 180 to 220. I know that’s kind of a broad range, but it kind of depends on the farm. Some of your better farms, they’re still going to do up in over 200 and we had a farm closer to Milan area that had some hills and some lighter soil and it can dry up, but that still did 180 there, and that’s a really good corn crop there. So, it’s just kind of crazy how it held in there, some of these hybrids, but it was too… There were times we’d start at one end of the field and it’d be 200 bushel of corn. By the time you got to the other end, you could have seen 100 bushel or under 100 bushel of corn, just very variable throughout the entire field. But in the good spots and where there’s corn, it’s a pleasant surprise, I guess.

Jamie Duininck (04:00):
Yeah. Yeah. Great. Good to hear. So, tell me a little bit, Dylan. I know over the past couple of years, you’re a younger farmer and been trying to improve your farm and do some things with water management. I know you’ve hired Northern Plains Tilng to do some work for you. Tell me a little bit about the project you did last year and how you think that fared this year in regards to having the tiling project done, how that might have helped you on your operation.

Dylan Erickson (04:31):
Sure. Yeah. We did a project over by Louisburg, Minnesota. Yeah, we ran a big main through the entire field and pretty much pattern tiled… I don’t know, not all of it, but I would say 75% of it’s draw and through some low corners and stuff. And this year with the late rain, we would’ve had standing water there and wouldn’t have been able to… We farmed on both sides of it. It’s a really good piece of ground. It just had some tough spots and just kind of made it tough to get a farm around it all. And we would’ve been farming on both sides of this draw this year, but we tiled that out and hooked down a bunch of branches and yeah… No, we farmed right through it and as an entire farm that was over 70 bushel of beans and that definitely had a big, big part to do with it.

Jamie Duininck (05:20):
That’s kind of interesting, isn’t it? How you wait all year worrying about getting enough moisture and then you get within a month of harvest and you get a lot of rainfall there in that area. A lot of areas didn’t get that, but I think you had told me in an earlier conversation that you had something like 10″ of rain in a few weeks there and how that would’ve affected your ability to harvest that had you not had that project done?

Dylan Erickson (05:47):
Yep. No, exactly. And we were taking off some navy beans over there and there was standing waters in pockets and stuff like that. There wasn’t one drop of standing water on that field, and I’m telling you that farm would’ve had standing water all over and… Yeah, just kind of crazy, though, when you think we manage water like that, you can move it around a little bit, the benefits you can have from it, for the farming aspect of it and everything like that.

Jamie Duininck (06:13):
Yeah, for sure. Well, I’m glad to hear that what your vision there for what was going to happen is becoming a reality, because it’s something that you can see the benefits for years to come now and to see a benefit in the first year that’s exciting for you and your operation.

Dylan Erickson (06:30):

No, absolutely. Especially, like you said, as a younger farmer, being able to have a project like that done and take care of a farm so I can see the benefits of it for many, many years to come now and not have to always say, “Oh, I wish I would’ve done this how many years ago,” and whatnot like that. So, should be able to see the benefits and see it pay for itself over the long haul pretty easily.

Jamie Duininck (06:57):
Sure, sure. So, I can’t let you go, Dylan, without talking about a couple of other things that have nothing to do with water management, but as you know, I like to get out in the field in the fall and look for some pheasants. How does that look out there when you’re in the field? You seeing any pheasants?

Dylan Erickson (07:16):
Yeah, Jamie, I think you’re going to be a pretty happy guy when you come out to Western Minnesota this fall here and hunt some birds because there’s birds everywhere, in the corn now, even in the CRP. Yeah, t’s going to be a nice hunting season for the pheasant hunters, and I know there’s been a lot of… Out where we live, waterfowl, ducks in Madison actually pretty good too, from the guys I’ve seen posting pictures and with their outdoor little programs they run or whatever. It looks like they’re doing really good too. So, I think if you come out and visit me this fall here, we’re going to have some good luck.

Jamie Duininck (07:57):
Perfect. That sounds great, and I know one of your passions is similar to mine. That’s the Minnesota Vikings. Kind of a disappointing start here, but what’s your prediction for the rest of the year with the Viks?

Dylan Erickson (08:11):
Oh yeah. It’s really been close to being so many things already. I don’t know. It really could go one way or the other, I think it’s going to trend up, but honestly, I think if we get to eight, nine wins, we’ll be lucky this year. I know the schedule seems to get a little easier now. We’ll get some division teams in here, but I don’t know. With our defensive line with the run game against us and… I mean, Kirk Cousins has played well, but offensively, we’ll be in rhythm for a possession or two, and then… It’s just hard to say. It’s kind of frustrating, obviously, being a Minnesota sports fan, as always, but…

Jamie Duininck (08:52):

Dylan Erickson (08:53):
Yeah, if I had a prediction, I would say if we get to eight, nine wins just for the rest of the way, we’ll be really lucky to get that.

Jamie Duininck (09:00):
Yeah, for sure, and I know there’s a lot of people that listen to the podcast that could care less about Vikings football, but people like you and I suffer through it every year, so they can suffer through two minutes of listening to us talk about it.

Dylan Erickson (09:17):
Exactly. I could talk about sports all day, so…

Jamie Duininck (09:20):
Yeah, for sure, for sure. Well, thanks a lot for the time. At the Water Table we’re all about trying to educate people on water management and how we manage water on the farm and I know you and I have had a lot of conversations over the years about just that. And so I just encourage people to give us a call or check out the Water Table website. We can always put you in touch with young farmers like Dylan too, if you want to learn more. So, appreciate the time Dylan.

Dylan Erickson (09:53):
No, absolutely, Jamie. I appreciate having me in and hopefully the Viking season turns around and everyone else has a safe harvest out there listening to the podcast and appreciate it.

Jamie Duininck (10:05):

Thank you. Stay safe. If you enjoy what you’re listening to, you can find us on your favorite podcast platform. You can find us on Twitter or Facebook and you can also find us WaterTablePodcast.com. Thanks for listening.