Sunny, dry days urge farmers into fields

WORTHINGTON, Minn. -- After seeing snow covering their farm fields just one week ago, area farmers are now out in full force getting this year's corn and soybean seeds in the ground.

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Planting in a field northwest of Bigelow at Lais Avenue and 300th Street is pictured Monday. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON, Minn. - After seeing snow covering their farm fields just one week ago, area farmers are now out in full force getting this year’s corn and soybean seeds in the ground.

Temperatures in the 80s on Sunday and Monday, with a seven-day outlook showing minimal rain chances, should give farmers enough time to make significant planting progress in the coming days.

“It’s been a slow start this year,” University of Minnesota Extension Crops Educator Lizabeth Stahl said Monday.

Though long-term averages put this year’s planting season about a week behind schedule, Stahl said the wet weather and cooler temperatures really hadn’t allowed for growing degree day units to accumulate.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress Report issued Monday showed corn planting in Minnesota at 35 percent complete - 16 days behind last year and eight days behind average. The report noted corn planted last year at this time was 85 percent complete.


In Iowa, the report noted 52 percent of the corn crop was planted, also more than a week behind last year.

Soybean planting was reported as scattered in Minnesota, with Iowa reporting 9 percent of soybean acres planted - six days behind last year and two days behind average.

While planting dates can make a significant impact on yields at harvest, Stahl said farmers are still within the planting window for optimal yields.

Some were able to get corn planted before the May 1 snow, and Stahl said while the odds are those seeds will be fine, there is the potential that the cool precipitation caused chilling injury to the corn seed.

“In the first 24 to 38 hours (after planting) the corn takes in water, if it’s really cold, that could be damaging,” she said. “Our corn is bred to handle tough conditions. We’ll see for sure how that plays out in the end.”

With the weather-induced delays in corn planting, most farmers will move right into soybean planting if drier conditions hold through the week.

“If it’s going to turn cool and wet right after planting, it’s going to be a problem,” Stahl said.

Weed management


With increasing concerns over herbicide-resistant weeds like waterhemp, Stahl encourages farmers to consider use of pre-emergence herbicides, saying they will pay off in the long run.

“Waterhemp is a huge issue,” she said. “Being a later emerging weed, we need to make sure we have a pre-emergent herbicide in there.”

For waterhemp specifically, she recommends layering pre-emergent herbicide, with one application at planting and a second 30 days later.

Stahl advises farmers keep an eye on their fields, especially with the discovery of Palmer Amaranth last year in Lincoln and Lyon counties in Minnesota.

Anyone who suspects or confirms Palmer Amaranth on their land is asked to call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, or University of Minnesota Extension.

“Since it was introduced and at a low level yet, we’re hoping we can successfully eradicate that in areas where it’s found,” Stahl said.

For additional University of Minnesota resources, visit .

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