First it was the wet spring. Then an unseasonably cool July and early August. Now it’s lack of rain. The weather for many Minnesota corn farmers has come full circle this planting and growing season.
According to the USDA, statewide average temperatures for the week ending Sept. 1 were almost 12 degrees above normal. Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels were short at 66 and 61 percent, respectively, and overall corn conditions lagged behind compared to last year.
“It’s extremely dry. We’ve gotten a tenth of an inch rain here or a tenth of an inch there, but that’s about it,” said John Mages, who grows corn and soybeans in Belgrade, Minn. and hasn’t had a significant rainfall since June 21. “You can see the corn starting to give up a little. From the road, it looks green, but if you walk in, it’s pretty dry and fired up. I’m sure it’s going to impact yield.”
Over in Southeast Minnesota where Lori Feltis farms in Stewartville, things have dried up after a soggy spring resulted in about 50 percent of the region’s corn acres not being planted.
“The kernels look very shallow and we’re seeing ears already starting to tip down,” said Feltis, who planted before a late snowfall hit in May. “We had a crop tour come through a couple weeks ago and were told that Minnesota had the potential to average 181 bushels per acres. At this point, it’s looking like it’ll be more like a 155-160 average.”
For the full USDA Minnesota crop report, click here.