Rain slows farmers in southern Minnesota, cold slows emergence in northwest

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

The corn crop in Minnesota is on track, with most parameters ahead of the five-year average. However, with prolonged wet and cool conditions across the southern tier of the state, some farmers in the region are still planting. Moving northwest, farmers have seen dry conditions, but cold weather has led to slowed emergence.

The latest USDA report has corn planting in Minnesota nearing completion, with 96 percent of acreage planted. Statewide, emergence is at 81 percent, which is seven percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Corn conditions were 68 percent good to excellent, according to the report released on May 30.

Cool and cloudy conditions across much of Minnesota prevented fields from drying out much during the last week, and now farmers are looking for sunshine and warmer days to aid crop development and complete planting.

Bryan Biegler MCGA Board Member

Bryan Beigler, Lake Wilson

Starting southwest in Lake Wilson, Bryan Beigler and others in his region were largely hit by the string of rain events this spring. Farmers in the area have been plagued by both the well above average rain fall and cooler temperatures, with mornings in the lower 40s being the recent norm, he said. With improved conditions ahead, Beigler hopes to finish soybean planting this week.

“This is later than I had hoped,” he said. “Usually we’re done planting by the middle of May. It’s close to two weeks now since I’ve been back in the field. We’ve just had too much rain.”

Cover crops have helped his fields dry out much quicker, according to Beigler, who plants cereal rye and other species between rows later in the year and lets it grow through the winter prior to ending it before planting. Typically able to wick up much of the early spring moisture, Beigler’s cover crops were no match for this year’s rain, however.

For Jerry Demmer, who farms in Clarks Grove near Albert Lea, planting progress was aided by dual planters. Starting planting at the beginning of April, he completed planting in mid-May prior to the latest stretch of rain in southern Minnesota.

Today, the corn has emerged and beans are coming up, reported Demmer, who is now in his 45th season of farming in Minnesota.

Cool weather has also slowed crop development in the northwestern region, according to Gary Purath, who farms in Red Lake Falls. Purath reports his region has had only one day above 70 degrees in May, but thankfully that looks to be changing.

“Today it’s reaching the 80s and it’s supposed to keep going for the next few days. That should really get the corn going,” he said.

Purath, who raises corn, soybeans and wheat in rotation, said he has not had to deal with much rain. Emergence, however, has been slowed due to the cold temperatures.

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