Podcast Episode 57

Harvest Check-in 2022: Karl Guetter, Farmer, South Central Minnesota

With Guest:
  • Karl Guetter of Prinsco, Ag Segment Lead

Back by popular demand, The Water Table podcast host Jamie Duininck checks in with Midwest farmers to see how harvest is going. In part one of this four-part series, he talks to Karl Guetter, Prinsco’s National Agriculture Segment Lead, who also farms in South Central Minnesota. They discuss a surprising fall after a very late start in the spring, how climate change is affecting the growing season and how conditions in South Central Minnesota are perfect this fall for making preparations for next year, including getting pipe in the ground.

Watch the full episode on YouTube!

Episode 57 | 10 min
We’re ahead of schedule, the weather has been phenomenal, the weather for harvest has been phenomenal, we’ve gone almost three weeks without a single weather delay.

Guest Bio

Karl Guetter has nearly 20 years of experience in the ag industry and, being an active farmer himself, is a true advocate for managing water on the farm. 

Michael is an active farmer and the Agricultural Segment Lead at Prinsco. He’s passionate about issues facing rural America and the ag community– his experience gives him a unique perspective on what pushes farmers to manage their water, how the demand for tiling has changed and increased over the years, and why tile is critical for the sustainability and profitability of farms in the future.

Jamie (00:02):
This is The Water Table.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
A chance to hear the agricultural side of these issues.

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

Speaker 3 (00:13):
Water management is just going to become even more critical into the future.

Jamie (00:19):
How misunderstood what we do is.

Speaker 2 (00:19):
I would encourage people open their minds and listen to this dialogue.

Jamie (00:37):
Today continuing the series on The Water Table podcast of Harvest check-ins. I have Karl Guetter on the phone. Karl is segment lead with Prinsco’s and he also is a farmer and farms with some of his family in Southern Minnesota, so Central Minnesota. And Karl, welcome back to The Water Table.

Karl Guetter (00:56):
Thanks for having me. Good afternoon, Jamie.

Jamie (00:57):
Getting into harvest here a few weeks now and seems like last late May and early June, I’m guessing you wouldn’t have thought where you were located, that you’d be where you’re at today as far as how far along you are with Harvest?

Karl Guetter (01:13):
That’s exactly right. As we were creeping through May and didn’t have a lot of crop in the ground, everybody was nervous it was going to be a late harvest and it was going to freeze before things were right. But growing conditions throughout the summer, as you’re well aware, were phenomenal. We had a lot of heat and things came along really nice. We’re sitting right here in the smack dab middle of Redwood County and I would say at this point 99% of the beans are out of the field. And I’d venture to say by the 15th of this month, 80% of the corn’s going to be out of the field.

So we’re ahead of schedule. Weather has been phenomenal. The weather for harvest has been phenomenal. We’ve gone almost three weeks now without a single weather delay. And every day, just like the next, for the most part, you wake up and the sun shines and you watch sun go down when you go to bed at night. So it’s been incredible.

Jamie (02:04):
Yeah, yeah, pretty amazing. And just for listeners, we’re recording this call on the 13th and going to release it early next week. So by early next week, unless something, big rain event happens, you will be 80% done with corn. And it is just amazing when you think about, and ties into some of my earlier podcasts around weather and weather events. I had Eric Snodgrass on a couple weeks ago, listeners haven’t listened to that, but talked about how we have four to five less days in the spring planting days just due to larger rain events and how springs have gone the last 20 years compared to before that.

But then the weather’s been also changing where we’ve had these warmer longer summers and into the fall and things tend to… This year and last year also catch up and get us back on track.

So how did things go with soybean harvest? I know you’re done and into corn, how did that go?

Karl Guetter (03:04):
Yeah, beans are done, They’re all in the bin. Soybean harvest, I mean it was variable. I probably mentioned earlier on one of their podcasts, the expectations were different across the range of land that you have. So the good dirt this year, the good dirt yielded pretty good soybeans, and that bodes for corn as well. If it was lighter dirt, just because with the lack of rain here in the middle of Redwood County, those didn’t do as well. But our beans ranged all the way from in the forties to the sixties, so we really cannot complain with the amount of rain we had, we’re blessed with what we did get, and very happy to be sitting where we are.

And again, the fall was perfect. So I mean they came out really nice. We didn’t have any… You weren’t fighting mud. I mean, your combine cuts nice. Everything just works better when it’s dry.

Jamie (03:56):

Karl Guetter (03:56):
Things are good.

Jamie (03:58):
Yeah, great. And talking to you throughout the course of later summer and then early harvest here now, from where you live in Redwood County, it is a little bit of a stark difference as you head west, it was drier and they got less rain, and so that even on your operation, your farm, from east to west, that’s where your variability was, correct?

Karl Guetter (04:24):
Yeah, variability east to west was huge. North to south, probably not quite as much, but east to west, anything west to Highway 71 that cuts Minnesota north and south, anything west of there, it started to get drier, once you got over toward Wabasso, Lucan, and over towards Vesta and headed over towards Milroy and Marshall, those areas were really dry compared to stuff to the east.

You go east to Highway 71, some of those farms received five, six inches more rain than what we did to the west. So there was a ton of variability east to west, north to south, what the Minnesota River does to weather patterns, I have no idea, but it is just different north to south. So south of the Minnesota River it started to get drier, and then really that went all the way down to about Highway 14. So a little more consistent north to south, but still quite a range.

So we farm in about a 25 mile radius and from one end to the other, I haven’t looked recently, but I’m guessing it was at least six inches or more or less rain from one end to the other. So it’s crazy.

Jamie (05:31):
Yeah, it is. I don’t know if you have any knowledge of this, but I’ve always wondered if there’s more rain just right when you’re within a mile or two or close, a few miles say to the river along there, I’ve noticed over the years and just watching some of the weather, it seems like as you get close to the Minnesota River, those rain events are bigger, and I have no scientific knowledge of that, but that’s what I’ve kind of noticed.

Karl Guetter (05:58):
We’ll have to get ahold of some meteorologists at the state of Minnesota because there has to be something, I don’t know what it is, but there is something with that river. So what the actual numbers… Well there’s a lot of guys now that have the automated rain gauges that automatically send information in. So maybe we’ll get our answer.

Jamie (06:16):
Yep, yep, For sure. For sure. And tell me about corn. What are you about 25% done now with your corn or maybe 50?

Karl Guetter (06:25):
We’re about 60% done today with corn and everything is going well. Again, really no weather delays. Yesterday it rained I think five different times, but never enough to shut us down. So corn harvest is going well. Again, like I said, with the soybeans variable, good dirt is producing good corn. I mean it’s just that way. It’s in the two hundreds, and lighter dirt obviously not quite as good. But overall pretty blessed.

Tillage is chasing the combine. So I would say without any major breakdowns by mid next week, so what is that, the 17th to 18th, we should be wrapped up with corn harvest, wrapped up with tillage, and then just wait until the ground cools off enough to put anhydrous on.

Jamie (07:11):
Are you thinking about as a farmer, just to have your farmer hat on here completely, but what are you thinking about as going to get done early and going into next year, pretty good crop, pretty good prices for this year’s crop, but what does that make you think about when you think about next year?

Karl Guetter (07:31):
Well, from a market standpoint, I mean it’s really hard. I didn’t look today, but we’re probably in that 680 range, cash to the elevator right now. It’s really hard to put crop in a bin when you can take it right out of the field to the elevator at 680, although we are putting some in the bin.

So from a market standpoint, I mean the big question is should you start selling next year’s already? Commodity prices are cyclical along with everything else, we’re coming off of a couple of pretty good years here. Trying to guess when that downturn’s going to happen. So that’s weighing heavy. We’ll take a hard look here after harvest now, which varieties did well in certain climates? In the dryer soil? What corn did better? What soybeans did better? How’d they do from maturity standpoint? From early maturity to late maturity?

Then we’ll turn around and we’ll take a look at the dirt that did really well. Start taking a look at what was the fertility on that? What is the drainage pattern on that? We’ve got farms that are well drained and farms that aren’t quite as well drained, let’s just put it that way. So we’ve got a couple loads of tile sitting in the yard. So we got to get that buried as well yet this fall.

Just going to take one thing at a time, start picking them off, and see what we want to change for next year.

Jamie (08:47):
Challenge, real challenge, getting the crop in the ground, but getting it out, everything’s going smooth and looks like there’s going to be some time here for the farm community to decide what do I want to do here before freeze up? And that will, when you’re talking about a couple loads of tile to put in, I think there’s going to be a lot of people that are probably weren’t necessarily planning on it, but now are going to try to do some work.

Karl Guetter (09:14):
Right, and you’ll have the opportunity, which is one thing, but the other part of it is that the ground conditions, I mean it might be a little dry, so it might pull a little hard, but that’s still way better than fighting mud. So I mean the conditions are going to be conducive to many different types of machines. Every year, we’ve got contractors that can go pretty much no matter what, but when you talk about that farmer plow community, I mean the conditions make a big difference.

So everything should line up pretty well this fall. It could be a lot of pipe that goes in the ground.

Jamie (09:46):
Well Karl, thanks for taking the time. I’ll let you get back out in the field and appreciate you joining me on The Water Table today and be safe the rest of the way out here on your harvest.

Karl Guetter (09:56):
Thank you. Have a good rest of your week.

Jamie (10:01):
Thanks for joining us today on The Water Table, you can find us watertable.ag. Find us on Facebook. You can find us on Twitter. And you can also find the podcast on any of your favorite podcast platforms.