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Published April 16, 2012, 08:52 AM

Fit to plant

BUFFALO LAKE, Minn. — Earl Matzdorf, 69, Buffalo Lake, Minn., was working in some urea fertilizer on April 9, getting ready to start planting corn on April 10.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

BUFFALO LAKE, Minn. — Earl Matzdorf, 69, Buffalo Lake, Minn., was working in some urea fertilizer on April 9, getting ready to start planting corn on April 10.

“We planted peas and corn already,” for canning, Matzdorf says. “We have 800 acres of corn, a couple hundred acres of peas. We ain’t real big.” Matzdorf also grows soybeans and wheat. Matzdorf farms less than 2,000 acres.

Matzdorf, said soil temperatures on April 9 were over 50 degrees, so it was getting fit to plant. Some farmers are putting anhydrous ammonia on this spring. It was too hard and dry last fall, he says. This year the urea cost more, but “a person’s short of help, so you go that way.”

It was looking a little dry but wasn’t really bad.

“It works better in this area if it’s on the dry side for planting,” he says. “We went through this before.”

Matzdorf says the peas are an early variety, planted on rented, irrigated ground up near Brooten, Minn., about 75 miles north of Buffalo Lake.

Last year the field corn crop was too wet, then too dry, then it froze early. Yields were in the 130- and 150-bushel range, less than the 160- to 200-bushel yields he would like to see. Soybeans ran 30 to 40 bushels per acre, compared to a typical good yield of about 50 bushels per acre.

Earl farms with his son Chris Matzdorf, but farming is not a full-time job for Chris, Earl says. He worked at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange for 10 years before they closed the floor, Earl says. Then he worked in Chicago for about four years, and now he’s back in Minneapolis trading spring wheat. All of that and farming on the side.

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