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Published September 17, 2013, 01:38 PM

Minn. crops far from mature as weather turns cool

The frost that arrived in northern Minnesota this week spared the state’s prime farming regions, where major crops are far from mature. Just 5 percent of the state’s corn crop has reached maturity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday, and just 21 percent of soybeans have hit the leaf-dropping stage.

By: Associated Press,

ST. PAUL — The frost that arrived in northern Minnesota this week spared the state’s prime farming regions, where major crops are far from mature.

Just 5 percent of the state’s corn crop has reached maturity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday, and just 21 percent of soybeans have hit the leaf-dropping stage.

An early frost is a greater-than-usual worry because Minnesota farmers got such a late start to the growing season, which started out cold and wet before it suddenly turned warm and very dry.

“We had enough heat — we just didn’t have enough rainfall to go with it. So we were praying for the wrong thing,” says Seth Naeve, a University of Minnesota soybean specialist.

Naeve thinks last weekend’s rains will help soybean yields, which have been cut by the drought, but he said they’re still likely to fall below what farmers had hoped. He said the rains won’t make as much difference for the corn crop.

Last week the USDA lowered Minnesota’s projected soybean yield from 41 to 39 bushels an acre. Naeve says he wouldn’t be surprised to see yields in the 37-39 bushel range. Corn yields were forecast at 166 bushels per acre — good but no record.

“I have had a hard time finding a lot of soybeans that were excellent, but I’ve found a lot of soybeans that were pretty poor,” Naeve says.

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