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Rothsay, Minn., seed farmers upbeat

Lance Johnson (left), who recently joined his in-laws' Haugrud Farms Inc., near Rothsay, Minn., strolls through rain-laden "Shelly" hard red spring wheat with Roger Whippler, foundation seed manager for the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association in St. Paul, Minn. The two said they expect the wheat to pop back up before harvest that could start in mid-August. (Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service)1 / 5
Brent Haugrud of Haugrud Farms, Inc., works on the electronics for a tractor as the family gets ready for the 2017 cereal grains harvest, which will start in mid-August. (Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service)2 / 5
Roger Whippler is foundation seed manager, Minnesota Crop Improvement Association in St. Paul, Minn. (Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service)3 / 5
Bryant Haugrud of Rothsay, Minn., manages Haugrud Farms Inc., with his brother, Brent. Their father, Harlan, 86, got the family into the planting seed enterprise about 60 years ago. (Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service)4 / 5
Lance Johnson on Aug. 4 installs a John Deere autosteer system on a 9660 combine that will be in service for the 2017 harvest at Haugrud Farms, Inc., near Rothsay, Minn. (Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service)5 / 5

ROTHSAY, Minn. — The guys at Haugrud Farms Inc., are upbeat about the prospects for their certified wheat and soybean seed crops, as well as potential yields for their commercial sugar beet crops.

Bryant Haugrud manages the farm with his brother, Brent, and is in the seed business that their father, Harlan, 86, started about 60 years ago near Rothsay. Brent's son, Ben, also is in the operation, as well as Bryant's son-in-law, Lance Johnson.

The Haugruds feel grateful for sufficient rains in a year when others haven't been as fortunate. This growing season started excessively wet, then went dry for a month, and recently has provided rains sufficient to complete the wheat crop. They'll need timely rains for the soybeans and beets. Bryant says the sugar beet crop is looking excellent. With recent rains he thinks a 30-ton-per-acre crop is attainable on his farm.

"Right now the wheat looks really, really good," Haugrud says. "The price of wheat has come up a lot. It's come back (down) some, but it's better than what we were looking at this spring. We're hoping for 70- to 80-bushel wheat."

Brent on Aug. 4 was working on a tractor's electronics and son-in-law, Johnson, was installing a John Deere ATU 200 autosteer kit on a 9660 combine.

The Haugrud land is a mix of heavy clay to sandy spots. Some of the wheat on poorer ground may be ready to harvest by mid-August, but much of it will be harvested in three weeks. The soybeans are looking "very healthy" for the most part. Some of the wheat in the area has lain down under the weight of recent rains "We're hoping it'll pop up," he says, noting the heads are filling as its laying down.

Roger Whippler, foundation seed manager for the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association , happened to arrive the day Agweek visited Haugrud Farms. Whippler was in the area checking for seed quality and potential for oat, wheat, barley and soybean varieties. He said he's keeping a hopeful watch on Lang-MN, a new hard red spring wheat variety released by the University of Minnesota this year. It's touted for a good defensive trait against scab, as well as good protein and yield potential.

Johnson says he doesn't take the Rothsay rains for granted. His father, Roger Johnson, farming back in the Britton, S.D., area, has been wondering whether the corn there would make a crop in a year where he's gotten only about half an inch of rain since June 1.