Sporadic weather has been difficult for farmers this yearHankinson, ND (WDAY TV) - Although snow at the end of October is hardly nonseasonal, sporadic blasts of unfavorable weather up and down the valley is making this year's harvest a nightmare.
By: Drew Trafton, WDAY
Hankinson, ND (WDAY TV) - Although snow at the end of October is hardly nonseasonal, sporadic blasts of unfavorable weather up and down the valley is making this year's harvest a nightmare.
Dave Muehler/Hankinson Farmer: "This is nothing special, this is nothing new."
According to Dave Muehler, the only thing consistent about this harvest season... is that it's been inconsistent.
Muehler: “Where the frustration comes in for the farmers is that these weather events have been basically a weekly occurrence where we get shut down for a day or two.”
Muehler has been farming west of Hankinson full-time since 1979.
So, curve balls from Mother Nature are nothing new.
Muehler: "Hey, this is part of the farming game. You have to be prepared for conditions like this and you have to roll with the punches."
In fact, this season's inconsistency plays into a larger trend of parody.
Muehler calls the 2012 harvest his easiest, while 2009 proved to be the most difficult.
And more recently, the summer was bone dry compared to the 11 inches of precipitation he's measured over the last month.
And it's the latter point that's cause for concern.
Muehler: "In order to complete harvest operations this fall, boy, we really need to stay away from much more precipitation."
And even with the white flakes piling up- making harvesting impossible- if you're a farmer, you just can't take the day off.
Muehler's son, a third generation farmer, fought the weather while tilling a field.
Muehler meanwhile, tended to another source of income: turkeys.
As one of 11 turkey farmers in the state, it's usually the birds that provide a steady schedule of hard deadline as Muehler prepares them for market.
But there's no question with November fast approaching, more of Muehler's focus will be spent on finding 10 good days to finish harvesting his corn.
Muehler: "Now, the calendar is working against us and there's no guarantee on how far this weather's going to hold."
According to the Department of Agriculture, the corn, soybean and sunflower harvests still lag behind the average pace.