This planting season looks vastly different from last year’s season.


This planting season looks vastly different from last year’s season.

Spring last year was wet, resulting in farmers getting a late start on the corn crop. At this same time last year, no beans had been planted.

This year, according to George Schwint, agronomy manager at River Region Cooperative, 95 percent of the corn is in the ground in the Sleepy Eye area, and 75 percent of corn fields are seeded north of the Minnesota River.

Farmers this year are ahead of last year’s season with about 20 percent of the bean crop in the ground.

According to Wayne Schoper of South Central College, while the rain and standing water may have slowed farmers down a bit, this is simply a small bump in the road unless significant rainfall continues for the next couple of weeks.

“July 14, 2011, was the last significant rainfall we received,”?he said. “At the start of the planting season we were 13-16 inches behind in rainfall according to long-term averages.”?

With local rainfall totals of nearly six inches since May 1, the soil moistures are getting close to being recharged.

“The water standing in the fields is a good thing,”?Schoper said. “We might have a few drowned out spots, but the rest of the fields are receiving some benefit from that.”?

 Schoper went on to say that generally corn should be planted within the first 10 days of May while soybeans have a window until the last 10 days of May.

“The critical thing we need now is some warm weather,”?Schoper said.

Corn needs 50 degree temperatures to germinate, and we have stayed within that range, he added.

“This rain has really been a blessing during the planting season,”?Schoper said. “We just hope for warmer weather and adequate rainfall.”?

Schwint agrees that while mother nature has been on the farmer’s side so far, it needs to continue.

“We still need timely rains, sunshine, good growing temperatures and heat in August to finish the growing season,” he said.