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Published May 11, 2010, 09:21 AM

North Dakota, Minnesota farmers worry about crops after frost

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Frost over the weekend has some farmers in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota worried about their crops.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Frost over the weekend has some farmers in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota worried about their crops.

American Crystal Sugar Co. chairman Neil Widner, who farms near Stephen, Minn., said his sugar beets already have been above ground about a week because of above-normal warmth in March and April.

The fact that temperatures did not stay below 30 degrees very long increases the likelihood of the crops escaping damage, but "frost is funny," Widner said.

"It doesn't seem like one frost is like the next one," he said. "How much is the ground temperature, the duration of the cold, other factors all make it hard to figure out."

Bill Barrett at the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks said the lowest temperature recorded in northeast North Dakota was 27 degrees in Towner County near the Canadian border.

"The wheat should be OK, even though it got frostbit a little," said Crystal Martodam, agricultural extension agent in the county. "If any canola got in early, that might be stung a little bit harder."

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