Crops remain uneven in region as summer wanes
HANSKA, Minn. — After a spring in which the rain would not stop, Hanska farmer Terry Wellmann is now hoping for some decent rainfall in August and September.
"We were ground zero here for rain this spring. We were hurting, everything was yellow, the fields looked like junk," he said.
"Now we could use some more rain."
Kent Thiesse, farm management analyst at MinnStar Bank in Lake Crystal, said that’s the story across the region.
"As wet as we were earlier, the rain is welcome now."
He said that because of the saturated soils early on, crop roots didn’t have to go down deep, which leaves the plants more vulnerable now when the top layer of soil dries out.
Thiesse doesn’t expect great yields in most areas and poor yields in areas that were the wettest this spring.
"The areas that got hit hard early, the crops just never recovered. A lot of spots never got planted," he said.
"In most of southern Minnesota there’s a lot of variation. If you have fairly well-drained fields and you missed the worst rains, you’ll have pretty decent yields. But where they had a lot of standing water for an extend period of time, you’ll see yields below average and maybe well below average."
Wellmann said he expects many farmers in his area of southeastern Brown County will be disappointed this fall.
He said that while crops appeared to bounce back once it started to dry out, they later suffered because farmers weren’t able to apply nitrogen fertilizer during the wet conditions.
"The corn didn’t get the nutrients they needed and they went downhill."
Wellmann said his soybeans, on the other hand, look surprisingly good.
"The beans look phenomenal for me, but not everywhere. They usually don’t like being that wet, but they don’t require the same nutrient load at the same time as corn. I think they just hung on and then got the nutrients when they needed them."
The USDA’s crop report said farmers have been able to make good progress on harvesting small grains recently and have been scouting and spraying for aphids.
Topsoil moisture supplies are rated adequate in most areas of southern Minnesota, helped by widespread rains early last week. .
They report that virtually all the corn is in or beyond the silking stage, which is ahead of the five-year average.
Most all soybeans were also setting pods, which is also ahead of average.