Wet Spring Delays Planting

Posted at: 04/23/2013 4:11 PM
Updated at: 04/23/2013 7:05 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- It's part of the job, when you live at the whims of Mother Nature.

A year ago at this time, much of Minnesota's corn crop had been planted. Some of it had even emerged. This year it's a different story.

"We're behind even for a normal year, and especially way behind last year's record pace," said Mower County FSA Director Kirk Phelps.

But it’s not time to start worrying. Yet.

"If we're planted before the first full week of May on corn, that'll be soon enough to get average yields," Phelps explained.

But delay or not, it was necessary.

"This rain has been very welcome. It's exactly what we needed to get the year started," Phelps said.

"But now we need less than an inch of rain every week to get things dried out to get towards planting."

Around the area, pools of standing water in farm fields are proof of just how much rain we’ve gotten this spring.

"A lot of that has started the tiles running again, so it is getting down towards the subsoil, so we have at least filled the top soil with as much moisture as it can take and started pushing some to the sub-soil," Phelps said.

And that shows in the U.S. Drought Monitor, which shows a significantly smaller portion of the country now in exceptional to extreme drought, compared to just several weeks ago.

But this spring, moisture isn't the only factor.

"The soil is still very cold, so it's going to take quite a few days to get the temperature up so the corn will germinate," Phelps explained.

"Farmers can plant their ground very quickly now, and if we get a handful of days before May 20th for corn we still would be in pretty good shape this year."