Focus on Ag

Excess Rain in the Upper Midwest

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Some areas of southern and central Minnesota received excessive rainfall on May 23 and 24, which caused some crop damage due to standing water in fields. Most of the region received 1-2 in. of rain, with several locations receiving 3-5 in. or more in a 24-hour period. In addition to the heavy rainfall amounts, some areas also were impacted by hail damage to newly emerged crops, and by strong winds, which caused some property damage. Fortunately most of the property damage was fairly isolated in nature.

In south-central and southwest Minnesota, the heavy rains drowned-out portions of fields that were previously drowned-out by heavy rains in early May, and then replanted. Farm operators will need to decide if replanting a second time is a viable option. Soybeans planted around June 1 offer more potential that very late-planted corn. The replant decision may be impacted by how quickly affected fields dry out for planting. Crop insurance coverage may also be a factor in replant decisions. Producers should check with their crop insurance agent before finalizing replant decisions.

Overall, the rainfall on May 23 and 24 was beneficial, as many areas of southern Minnesota had not received any significant rainfall since the first week of May. Topsoil conditions dried out rapidly following tillage and planting, especially in areas affected by several days of strong winds. In some instances, later-planted soybeans were in dry dirt following planting, which should now be alleviated by the recent rainfall. The strong winds during mid-May caused considerable blowing dirt in potions of southern Minnesota, which lead to some significant leaf stripping on young corn plants; however, most of the damaged corn plants should recover.

Most of May has featured warmer than normal temperatures, which has allowed for rapid emergence and early development of corn and soybeans. Planting, emergence and growth of both corn and soybeans are ahead of normal across much of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. Growing degree units in the month of May have been running five to seven days ahead of normal at most locations.

Applying post-emergence herbicides for corn and soybeans in a timely fashion has been a challenge in many portions of the region, due to wet fields and several very windy days. Just as the crops are ahead of normal development, so are most common weeds in corn and soybean fields, which has necessitated the need for earlier than normal herbicide applications. No major crop insect problems have developed thus far in 2012; however, there is concern that the very warm weather could lead to problems later.

 

Editor’s note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.

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