Weather Forecast


Most of area corn crop planted

Tiny corn plants grow in a Willmar field. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- An estimated 80 to 90 percent of the area corn crop has been planted, with some farmers already finished planting while other farmers struggle against continued rain and wet soils to get the seed into the ground.

In Kandiyohi County, Farm Service Agency executive director Wes Nelson estimates that 85 to 90 percent of the crop is in.

Farmers to the east of Willmar are further along in the process, but those with land to the south and west of town are facing a slower planting pace.

That progress closely matches the weekly state crop-weather report, showing that 88 percent of the corn has been planted, compared to 100 percent last year and a five-year average of 98 percent.

As of Sunday, 54 percent of the corn crop had emerged, also well behind the 92 percent last year and the five-year average of 82 percent.

Soybean progress is estimated at 25 percent, Nelson said.

That ranges from farmers finished with the crop to those who have not even started on beans because they are still working on getting the corn planted.

In Renville County, FSA director Byron Hogberg estimated 80 percent of the corn and 30 percent of the soybeans are planted. Like Kandiyohi County, there is a wide range of planting progress, with those with land in the central and southern portion of the county still waiting for the rain to pass and the ground to dry out.

"There are (farmers) for whom the only wheels they are turning are the wheels on the vehicles rolling to check the fields," he said. "We don't have a lot of lakes in our county, but we have lakes in fields that will not dry out."

In the Belgrade area, farmer John Mages reported he's finished planting except for a few wet spots. He estimated that 75 percent of the soybeans are planted, with farmers able to dodge the weekend rainstorms. The stand of corn and beans that are coming up do look good, he reported.

The holiday weekend rainfall was spotty, with an area from the Blomkest area to Atwater receiving 2 to 3 inches of rain. Meanwhile, Nelson measured half of an inch on the western side of Willmar. Mages reported a similar weekend total in his area.

Tuesday was the last day for farmers to plant corn and have full crop insurance coverage. Likewise, the final day to plant soybeans and have full coverage is June 10. Nelson urged farmers to be in contact with their insurance agents to provide information on their crops and do the appropriate paperwork.

Some farmers will need to file prevented planting claims while others are going to switch to early season variety corn hybrids. Still others will likely switch from planting corn to soybeans.

Getting the crop planted is just the first challenge of what could be a very difficult crop year. Demand and crop prices are high, while farmers will likely face yield reductions from the late planting and putting seed into less than ideal soil conditions.

"Some of the farmers are done, but they 'mudded' it in," Nelson said. "We've got a lot of issues now -- time is just one of them."

According to the crop-weather report, 53 percent of the state's soybean crop has been planted, compared to 93 percent last year and a five-year average of 89 percent. Ninety percent of the sugar beets had been planted as of Sunday, still lagging the 98 percent five-year average. Progress has also been slower on vegetable crops, with 74 percent of the green peas and 29 percent of the sweet corn planted. The five-year averages for those crops are 91 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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