Cooler weather gives Minnesota farmers a breakPublished 11:22am Tuesday, July 30, 2013
ST. PAUL — Cooler weather has given Minnesota farmers a break from the heat.
In its weekly crops and weather report for Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that statewide, temperatures for the week averaged 6.7 degrees below average.
Despite the cooler weather, 5.9 days were suitable for field work last week.
In Otter Tail County, cool weather has helped alleviate the affects of dry conditions. Cooler temperatures lower the shock of dry conditions for the corn plant, but warmer weather and water is needed for the corn to mature.
“I guess if it’s going to be dry, it’s OK for it to be a little cooler,” said Paul Dubbels, seed manager in the agronomy department at New Horizons in Fergus Falls.
Drier than normal weather in the southern two-thirds of Minnesota reduced topsoil and subsoil moisture to 26 percent short and 21 percent very short.
Overall, however, the summer has provided enough fair weather for crops to get back to average conditions.
“We’re a little behind, but not as bad as we were,” Dubbels said.
Since corn in the area has tasseled, Dubbels said farmers take 60 days before they harvest. That puts the harvest at the end of September.
North-central Minnesota was the only district in the state with significantly above-average moisture, with more than 2 inches of rain.
Corn conditions declined slightly, to 62 percent good or excellent. Sixty percent of corn was at or beyond the silking stage while corn stalks grew 12 inches to an average height of 71 inches.
Area beans, however, have been more problematic this summer.
“Beans are short this year,” Dubbels said. “You don’t need tall beans, but they need to be tall enough to harvest.”
While farmers don’t want them to grow too tall, shorter beans could mean less of a yield. Favorable weather conditions could improve the problem in the near future, however.
“If we get a couple inches of rain, we’d probably get another foot out of them,” Dubbels said.