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Crops faring well, but rain would be welcomed sight

June 3, 2010
By Phillip Bock

Crops across southwest Minnesota are slightly ahead of schedule due to the abundance of rain in the first half of May and the hot, sunny days in the second half of the month.

In its weekly crop weather report for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 90 percent or more of small grains and row crops were in good to excellent condition as of Sunday.

"You like to have an even rain pattern," Farm Management analyst and former Extension educator Kent Thiesse said. "But for the most part the crops are doing quite well."

The report by the Department of Agriculture reports that corn crop was 94 percent emerged and 60 percent of the soybean crop had begun to poke through the soil. Warm weather and adequate rain made for ideal growing conditions in the first part of spring.

Thiesse said the lack of rain in recent weeks could have a negative effect on crops if the region does not get precipitation soon.

"If you go more than two weeks without rain it can be a concern with topsoil," he said, adding that soybeans planted late in the season are not performing well in the high heat. "The biggest issue with the beans is that with the high heat they have dried out."

Topsoil has started to dry out in parts of the region and rain is needed to help crops planted later in the season grow. Though, Thiesse added, the dry topsoil can actually be beneficial to crops planted earlier in the season.

"Once they are emerged, if it's dry the roots go deeper into the soil," he said. "It can be beneficial to have a developed root system later in the season."

The weather has been unusual throughout the region, with periods of high rain early in the month and high heat later in the month.

"It is a little unusual to see the wide variability in rainfall. Usually in the early season the rain is a lot more general in nature," Thiesse said. "Spotty rain is more typical of late summer weather."

A May 9 frost raised some concerns over the corn crop that had been planted in late April. The crops had just started to grow when the frost stunted their progress.

"It took a bit for it to come back," Thiesse said, "but it came back pretty well."

There were some reports of loss in the fields with early-planted corn requiring replanting, but the incidents were isolated and most crops bounced back with the warmer weather.

"I'd say our corn is ahead of development, even with the frost," Thiesse said.

Soybeans were not as affected by the frost because they were deeper beneath the top soil and had not yet emerged.

"Most of the soybeans were not that far along yet," Thiesse said. "A lot were still below the soil line and still had protection."

Thiesse said area soils have more stored moisture than last year due to the slow winter thaw, but that could change if the dry weather persists. As crops grow larger they require more water, but Thiesse said it is too early to worry.

"June is usually our heaviest precipitation month," he said. "The rain forecast sounds pretty good for the next week. Hopefully we'll see that."

 
 

 

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