Record-Warm September Helping Northern Michigan Farmers With Earlier Harvest

"The weather has been great in September and that’s been helping us out. We’re smiling now."

Warm weather is exactly what Northern Michigan farmers were looking for and they got it.

With that, and the right amount of rain, this year’s harvest is setting up to be a really good one.

Farmers growing corn, grains and potatoes are already thinking about heading to the fields.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Melvin Kimbrough visited farmers today. They have a closer look.


Despite an average to mild summer this year, warmer weather now is a boon to farmers.

Unlike last year, they will have a timely harvest.

"Corn is loving this weather," says Doug Bentham, owner of Bentham Brothers Dairy. "It’s going to finish out."

Doug Benthem in McBain says the harvest, for many, has already begun.

Last year at this time was different.

"Last year, we were in the second weekend of October before we started chopping and it got really late and our corn that we took off as grain, we were into December and it never did dry down as good as it should have," Benthem says.

Temperatures are warmer than average now throughout most of Northern Michigan.

Not only does that help crops like corn mature, Doug says it helps his cows get better grain earlier.

"The ears [of corn] are getting big and fat," Benthem says. "It looks pretty good."

Earlier on this summer, farmers like Doug say they didn’t expect the corn to get this far overhead but this heat coming this September is actually doing pretty good things.

"We’ve been very blessed by adequate rainfall in the summertime, good heat in the last month and now clear skies for harvest," says Jerry Lindquist from the MSU Extension in Osceola County.

Linquist, an agricultural educator, says this weather should get everything back on track.

"2013 and 2014 were difficult growing seasons, especially in Northern Michigan, and the harvest lagged on into November and December," Lindquist says. "This year, it looks like we are going to have more of a normal fall harvest and much of it will be done in October."

Farmers say everything should be good to go as long as it stays warm without a significant cooldown, with some starting their harvest in a week.