Long winter gets Minnesota farmers off to slow start

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Minnesota farmers are seeing a delay in getting into their fields because of the long winter and late spring and they're keeping a close eye on a chilly forecast which could push back their planting schedule.

The Associated Press reports farmers say their yields for the season shouldn't be reduced as long as they can get to work soon after Easter.

"The calendar is kind of slipping by a bit but I'm optimistic it could be a good year. ... As long as we can get the majority of our corn planted by mid-May it will have very high yield potential," Extension corn agronomist Jeff Coulter told the AP.

In its weekly crops progress and condition report for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that a statewide average of less than half a day was suitable for fieldwork last week. This week's forecast for below-normal temperatures with the possibility of more snow Wednesday or Thursday comes as southern Minnesota approaches the start of its ideal period for planting corn.

"Unfortunately we're going to be 10 to 15 degrees colder than normal this week, which is going to put the brakes on," Extension climatologist Mark Seeley said. "Soil temperatures haven't warmed to the point where we would want to give the green light to planting yet."

The Minnesota Farm Guide notes that the winter's above-normal number of days with below normal temperatures have alfalfa producers evaluating the conditions of their alfalfa stands for losses. During winter dormancy, the alfalfa roots can survive in soil temperatures as low as 12 degrees, taken at the two-inch depth level. It can be dangerous for the plant if the weather warms enough to initiate growth and then sub-freezing temperatures return which could weaken the plant or even kill it.

Most of southwestern Minnesota remains in a moderate drought after a fairly dry 2012 and 2013.

The lingering impact of the harsh winter is creating problems for farmers across the country. ArkansasMatters reports that Arkansas farmers are behind on planting their crops due to the record cold conditions there. Robby Bevis, the owner of Bevis Farms, said he usually begins planting corn around March 15th. But it could be the middle of April before he can get around to it.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Vikings vs. Jags is a battle of retool vs. rebuild

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.35.40 AM

More than 230,000 people have downloaded Minnesota's COVID exposure app

The more people who use the app, the more effective it is.

Ext_17

Despite pandemic, Life Time pushes ahead to open downtown co-working space

It was originally planned to open in the fall, but it has been pushed back to April.

shamrocks irish nook

The Nook issues plea, asks people to order from its other restaurant

Shamrocks Irish Nook has the same food as The Nook, the restaurant owners say.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 9.55.05 PM

Small plane lands on northbound I-35W in Twin Cities

A large police presence is at the scene.

Plainview

Judge orders Minnesota gym that defied shutdown to close

Attorney General Keith Ellison sued the gym after it remained open.

montana cutbank

Charges: Man shot victim 'without provocation' using sawed-off shotgun

The incident happened on Nov. 24 in Ten Lake Township, located in Beltrami County.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Walz, first responders address Minnesotans

Some departments have been forced to shift staffing or suspend service due to COVID-19.

covid-19, coronavirus

CDC says COVID-19 quarantine period can be cut to 10 or 7 days

You can come out of a 7-day quarantine following exposure provided you've had a negative test.

maple grove fire

1 person found dead inside Maple Grove business that burned down

A person had been unaccounted following the fire that destroyed Hanson Implement and Storage Tuesday night.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Appeals court rules MN high school students can get unemployment benefits

They've been denied the benefits, and some were even asked to pay them back.

Related