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Published April 17, 2012, 06:33 AM

Farmers likely to be in fields after ground dries from weekend moisture

After a 2.57-inch rainfall over the weekend, farmers are anxious for the ground to dry up so planting can begin.

By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic

After a 2.57-inch rainfall over the weekend, farmers are anxious for the ground to dry up so planting can begin.

According to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, the Mitchell area received 0.4 of an inch of rain Friday, 0.52 of an inch Saturday and 1.65 inches Sunday.

Farmers will likely start planting toward the end of this week or early next week, said Chad Blindauer, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council and a Mitchell farmer.

“By the time it dries up, it’ll be time to get planting,” he said.

Larry Wagner, an Extension agronomy field specialist in Sioux Falls, said the soil should quickly absorb the rain from this weekend because the area has been so dry this winter.

“As soon as it dries up, then they’ll be going at it in earnest,” Wagner said of area farmers.

Farmers are less worried about frost now than at the beginning of April, he added, but are still concerned since temperatures were in the 30s Monday morning.

Farmers with winter wheat and alfalfa crops were originally concerned about the health of the crops since there was no snow cover, little moisture and a frost hit after the wheat sprouted. But Wagner said the frost that hit the area caused little to no damage to the crops.

“Ratings on it are generally fair to good throughout the state,” he said. “Once we hit May, the chances are really slim at that point for a hard frost. But weather is weather, and there’s no guarantee.”

There is still a chance of rain Thursday, but Wagner said most farmers will likely be in the fields early next week in the Mitchell area.

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