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Drought has impact on oats headed for Atwater Threshing Days

Seven acres of oats were cut, put into bundles and then stacked into shocks over the weekend in preparation for the Atwater Threshing Days Sept. 11-12.

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Dean Stenberg, of Grove City, stacks bundles of oats into shocks Saturday, July 17, on the grounds of the Atwater Threshing Show, which holds its annual two-day show Sept. 11-12. Carolyn Lange / West Central Tribune

ATWATER — With the sun beating down in a wide-open field Saturday morning, Ron Hennes, Dean Stenberg and Tony Anderson walked up and down a seven-acre stubble field grabbing bundles of oats that they stacked into shocks.

It was a daunting task for the three men, but the stalwart volunteers knew the job had to be done in preparation for the Atwater Threshing Days in September.

The field was planted in early April and grew well following a nice rain, but then the heat kicked in and drought conditions stunted the growth and kept the stems short, said Hennes.

The short stems made it harder to create shocks.

There’s likely not many oat kernels in the heads either, he said.

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The field was cut Friday night with a 1940s-era binder that gathered the oats into bundles that were bound with a twine string.

The bundles were dropped onto the field where the men picked them up on Saturday to create the shocks into a pyramid-type shape with the cut ends of the stems on the ground and the oat heads facing up.

The air and sun will dry the bundles, which will be loaded onto a wagon later this week and stored inside a barn for the threshing show.

During the two-day event, Sept. 11-12, bundles will be pitched into a threshing machine to demonstrate how the oat kernels were separated from the straw in early farming methods.

Hennes, who is 79, said it’s important for younger people to realize how their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents farmed.

The Atwater Threshing Days showgrounds is located about a mile east of Atwater..

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Related Topics: AGRICULTUREATWATERMINNESOTAHISTORY
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