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Cool, wet weather keeps farmers out of fields

ST. PAUL (AP) -- There were only 2.3 days available for fieldwork last week as cool, rainy weather settled over the state, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday.

The weather kept farmers from planting corn and soybeans and slowed the development of some crops already in the ground. Standing water in some southern Minnesota fields could force farmers to replant some corn.

The average temperature for the week was 6.3 degrees below normal, at 48.7 degrees. As of May 13, statewide topsoil moisture supplies were rated 1 percent very short, 2 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 23 percent surplus.

The service estimated that 93 percent of spring wheat had been planted as of Sunday, compared with 96 percent for the same date in 2004 and 74 percent for the five-year average.

Oat planting was 97 percent complete compared with 94 percent a year ago and 85 percent for the five-year average. Barley was 90 percent planted versus 89 percent last year and 71 percent for the five-year average.

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However, corn and soybeans lagged behind some historical targets.

The corn crop was 89 percent planted, compared with 97 percent in 2004 and 82 percent for the five-year average. Corn was 10 percent emerged compared with 35 percent for the five-year average.

Soybeans were 28 percent planted versus 46 percent for the five-year average.

Nathan Winter, a University of Minnesota extension educator for Meeker and McLeod counties, told the West Central Tribune of Willmar that the cool weather had made farmers hesitant to plant soybeans.

"Soybeans need a little warmer weather," he said, adding that it was still early in the season and farmer shouldn't have to worry about switching to faster-growing soybean strains.

The statistics service also reported that sunflowers were 18 percent planted, compared with 22 percent for the five-year average.

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