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September frost chills outlook for some Minnesota farmers

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Some farmers in southern Minnesota are assessing their losses after an early frost a week ago.

The Mankato Free Press reports the unseasonable cold hit corn and soybean farms in Sibley and Le Sueur counties the hardest. Some farmers there told the newspaper that their fields got cold enough to freeze plants to the ground.

The cold snap added insult to injury to the farmers, who had to plant later than usual last spring because of heavy rains. They needed extra time for the crops to mature because of the delay.

MPR News reported that some farmers could see as much as a 30 percent decline in the soybean harvest.

An update from the University of Minnesota Extension that tracked the frost noted that damage varied, based on local climate conditions, crop maturity, and topographical features.

For corn, a killing freeze occurs when temperatures are 32°F for 4 hours or 28°F for minutes. A frost or killing freeze can still occur when temperatures are above 32°F, especially in low and unprotected areas. noted that the frost could have taken a toll on more Minnesota farms.

“A few degrees colder and things could have been much, much worse,” said Bruce Potter at the University of Minnesota Southwest Research and Outreach Center.

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