Optimism through delays regarding spring planting
The weather has not been real good to area farmers this spring but local growers are getting their crops in the ground.
Although the May 6 crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that only six percent of the corn in Minnesota had been planted statewide, the situation is considerably better in Dodge and Steele Counties.
Jon Klejeski, an agronomist with CHS, said that the local CHS service territory covers an area from St. Charles and west to Grand Meadow.
While corn planting is behind in all areas, farmers on the eastern side are further along than those on the western edge. In areas on the eastern and southern side, he said, between 60 and 70 percent of the corn is planted while it is a lower amount in the area west of Interstate 35.
Although rains last week slowed planting, he said, a couple of days of good weather this week and the corn planting can be back on track.
The third week in May is often considered a time when the season’s corn planting should be finished and while Klejeski said it might be a challenge to finish by then farmers are not feeling the need to change their plans to planting soybeans.
An important date for planting corn, he said, comes in June. If fields are planted too early in the spring, or too late in June, they cannot be covered by crop insurance.
Another weather problem facing farmers this year, he said, is that spring flooding raised river levels on the upper Mississippi and closed many of the locks slowing down barge traffic. Much of the fertilizer used by area farmers comes up the Mississippi River from Iowa to Winona.
The locks have since reopened but the shutdowns caused a backup in getting fertilizer up the river.
According to the May 6 crop report, Minnesota’s corn planting was only a day behind the previous year but 17 days behind the five-year average.
Soybean planting in Minnesota was at less than one percent of the expected acres planted, the USDA said, but soybeans are generally planted later than corn.