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Weather warms for rain-delayed corn planting

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The holiday weekend's sunny and warm weather has proven to be a boon for Minnesota farmers who had been concerned that they might not get their corn planted in advance of a May 31 insurance deadline.

KTOE in Mankato reports many farmers in the southern part of the state were able to get their corn in the ground.

"They're all out here, it's Memorial Day weekend, one's got a daughter playing in the softball tournament this weekend," Kevin Paap, President of the Minnesota Farm Bureau told the station. "Corn needs so many Growing Degree Units or heat units to mature. So the earlier you can plant the corn, the better off you are."

The Associated Press reported that the late, rainy spring had slowed corn planting in Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest, noting that each type of grain must be planted by a certain date for farmers to get full insurance benefits. Crop insurance reduces risks for growers who may experience poor or ruined crops due to weather or other problems. Most policies require farmers to have crops planted by certain deadlines, or they enter into a “late planting period.” For every day that farmers have not planted in the late planting period, their guarantees of recovery are reduced by 1 percent.

Last week, the Star Tribune reported that the problem of late planting was especially pronounced in the northern part of the state, where wet weather and cool temperatures caused so many delays for corn farmers that U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson asked federal officials to cut them some slack on the insurance deadline.

Federal crop insurance won’t fully cover corn that’s planted after May 25 or grain and silage after May 31, but Peterson has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to delay those dates.

“In many parts of my district, wet weather has prevented farmers from even getting fields ready for planting, much less actual planting,” Peterson wrote. “My growers would rather produce a corn crop than collect a prevented planting [insurance] claim.”

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