This regular feature provides an update of crop growing conditions from several farmers, along with happenings across the farm to ensure overall quality of their product.

For most soybean farmers across the Upper Midwest, harvest has wrapped up and growers have had a chance to catch their breath after a long growing season. Before turning their attention to the 2024 growing season, they are taking a step back.

“American farms are a family affair,” Northern Soy Marketing (NSM) Director Glen Groth said. “This is a time of year that we get to slow down and spend more time with our families and reflect on all that we have been given.”

As for the farming operation, Groth is putting the finishing touches on 2023.

“We’re not looking ahead so much right now as we’re looking back,” said Groth, who farms in southeast Minnesota. “We’re finishing up fall tillage and fertilizer applications, as well as making sure our financial house is in order.”

When the field work ends, the book work begins. In South Dakota, NSM Director David Struck is trading his tractor seat for an office chair.

“For me, the month of December is mostly office work,” Struck said. “Whether it be tax preparation or working with attorneys on our corporate books or placing chemical and seed purchases, I’ll be confined to the desk for a while.”

However, Struck isn’t quite done with his 2023 harvest.

“We have one pivot of corn left to be harvested,” Struck said. “We just can’t get into it because it’s so wet and the equipment sinks in. We tried to get in there and get it, but we got a combine and a quad-tractor with a grain cart stuck so we had to pull out and abandon it. Hopefully, it gets cold enough soon that the ground freezes and we can get in there.”

Normally, growers are hoping to put off the freezing temperatures as long as possible so that they have time to apply fertilizer and finish tillage.

“This year, we actually want it to freeze so we can finish up and it won’t,” Struck said. “But farming is a ‘next year’ business; we’re always working to make the next season better. That’s how farming works. So, we will do what we can now, to set us up for success in 2024.”