Growing conditions for corn and soybeans continue to be good to excellent in most areas of southern Minnesota. However, there are some locations starting to get a little on the dry side, with the warm temperatures, strong winds and limited rainfall that have existed in some portions of the region. Most rainfall events in recent weeks have been quite spotty, leaving some areas somewhat short of needed moisture. However, very good levels of stored soil moisture exist in most areas at this point of the growing season. There has been some hail damage reported to crops in some areas, though most of the crop damage has not been widespread.

The early planted corn is now 30-36 in. tall, which is well ahead of normal for early June, and probably among the best ever in many areas of south central Minnesota. Most soybeans in the region are also well ahead of normal development for early June. The rapid development of the 2007 corn and soybean crop has been due to a combination of early planting dates, good planting conditions, adequate soil moisture, and above normal temperatures early in the growing season. In some areas of extreme southern Minnesota crops are not quite as far advanced, due to somewhat later planting dates that resulted from wetter field conditions in late April and early May.

Ethanol Production Continues To Grow

Total U.S. ethanol production in March 2007 was almost 11.9 million barrels of ethanol, or an average production of 384,000 barrels of ethanol per day. This compares to total U.S. ethanol production of 10.8 million barrels in February 2007 and 9.3 million barrels in March 2006. In the near-term, ethanol demand should remain quite strong as ethanol consumption on a monthly basis continues to outpace production. Ethanol demand in March 2007 was about 12.8 million barrels, which is about .90 million barrels greater that the March ethanol production level. Currently, there are 120 ethanol plants operating in the U.S., producing approximately 6.2 billion gallons of ethanol annually. There are 85 ethanol plants that are either under construction or adding capacity, which will add an additional 6.4 billion gallons to the U.S. ethanol production capacity by early 2009.

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.