Southeast Minnesota on track with planting again

Similar to the spring of 2022, this year's planting season should put southeast Minnesota in position to harvest a good crop.

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Joel Johanningmeier, advanced yield specialist for Ag Partners in Stewartville, scouts seedling corn at a field near the Rochester airport which got quite a bit of rainfall this month on May 18, 2023.
Noah Fish / Agweek

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Southeastern Minnesota saw some heavy bouts of rain throughout May and Joel Johanningmeier could see the impact from that as he scouted seedling corn near the Rochester airport on May 18.

Corn and soybean growers in southeast Minnesota are gunning for a third straight banner harvest, and despite recent precipitation, high-end yields are still in the cards for some. The region is known for having soil types which have the capacity to hold a lot of water.

Johanningmeier, advanced yield specialist for Ag Partners in Stewartville, works with around 12 farmers in the region on data management, prescriptive services and troubleshooting on the mostly corn and soybean rotations.

"My role here the past few weeks is making sure that we get the right planting scripts in their planter, and the monitor is working right and they're off to planting," he said on May 18.

So far it's been a smooth but wet planting season, he said. Minnesota farmers have 80% of their corn planted, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's May 22 Crop Progress report, which is just ahead of the average. Over half the state's soybeans have been planted as well, catching up to the average of 57% for this time of year.


Planting progress varies in southeast Minnesota due to a wet month of May.

"Crop planting progress here to date is, as you can imagine, really all over the board," Johanningmeier said of southeast Minnesota fields. "We've got some that are almost finished — maybe finish up here in the next couple of days for corn and soybeans."

Fields that missed out on the heavier rains — which Johanningmeier said were just south and east of Stewartville — were able to continue with planting to the point of near completion.

"Moving to other directions, maybe there's 30 percent corn planted and very few beans," he said.

The wet conditions followed an early start to planting for many southeast Minnesota growers who took advantage of a warmer-than-average week in early April. Then intermittent rain paused planting efforts just as things were "getting rolling" for farmers in the region, Johanningmeier said.

"There's some planters just getting started going again," he said.

The field he scouted on May 18 experienced quite a bit of rainfall after most of the corn was put in by the second week of April, he said.

"Just finally drying out," he said while scouting for potential seedling diseases. "For the most part, it looks like most of the corn is coming through in many of the fields. We've got a little bit of rotten seed but overall, I think some of those early planted fields are going to do okay."


Although the region has reached final planting stages, producers shouldn't feel rushed just yet, Johanningmeier said. Last spring also brought a slight delay in planting.

"And we ended up with good yields at the end of the season," he said. "It's a little bit later than the normal, so it will really be dependent on what the weather is for the rest."

Memorial Day weekend is shaping up to be largely warm and dry, according to the National Weather Service in Rochester, with a higher-temperature, low-precipitation outlook to follow.

"That's really going to help, and keep the crop progressing," Johanningmeier said. "It's going to move along real quickly and get to maturity before we have any concerns."

Noah Fish is a multimedia journalist who creates print, online and TV content for Agweek. He covers a wide range of farmers and agribusinesses throughout Minnesota and surrounding states. He can be reached at

He reports out of Rochester, MN, where he lives with his wife, Kara, and their polite cat, Zena. He grew up in La Crosse, WI, and enjoys the talent from his home state like the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers and Grammy award-winning musicians Justin Vernon and Al Jarreau.
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