Region gets first freeze as farmers race to finish harvest

From small family farms to large scale corporate operations, the corn harvest is in full swing. Although fields are still wet from recent heavy rains, farmers are anxious to get corn harvested. This combining crew from was working a field just south of Elkton.

No matter how hard you may have wished it wouldn't happen, it did — the temperature dipped below freezing Saturday night in Rochester for the first frost/hard freeze this fall.

Temperatures from 25 to 30 degrees ended the growing season, according to the National Weather Service at La Crosse, Wis.

The overnight low at Rochester International Airport was 30 degrees Saturday and 28 Sunday night. It fell to 25 degrees Monday when the average temperature was 33 degrees, which is 15 degrees below normal.

The first frost averages Oct. 1, although in two pockets in this area it's Sept. 25, while the first freeze averages Oct. 1 through Oct. 10, the service reports.

The next step is to wait for the first snowfall. The earliest measurable snowfall was in 1942, when it came on Sept. 26, but the average first measurable snowfall is on Nov. 5. The earliest snow was Sept. 21, 1995, when a trace fell.


The first mention of snow in the forecast is Monday, though chances seem slim because the overnight low Sunday will be about 32, and the high Monday will be about 47 degrees.

Besides stopping plant growth, the weather also has been a problem for farmers because it has been wet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Minnesota farmers had only three days for fieldwork last week when statewide precipitation averaged 1.5 inches.

As of last week, 95 percent of the corn was mature, one percentage point below the five-year average, and 97 percent of soybeans are mature.

Because of late planting and rain, only 19 percent of the corn has been harvested, which is well behind the normal 49 percent. Soybeans, on the other hand, are 80 percent harvested, which is close to normal.

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