crops horizontal

A soybean and corn field west of Mankato. Area crops are at or ahead of normal and in excellent condition.

The rains haven’t come often this growing season, but when they did, they came hard.

“We had 5 inches last Saturday,” said Lake Crystal area farmer Brian Engles. “We needed an inch, we didn’t need 5.”

That rain came on top of about 8 inches the area received in a storm a month ago.

Still, the crops are on track for a great year.

“The crops look great other than some ponding,” Engles said.

While a bumper crop could be on the way, commodity prices remain low.

“Crop prices have been pretty much on the down side since January,” Engles said. “It looks a little bleak right now with how prices are, but we do have a good crop coming, as of now, so that’s a positive.”

Jeff Vetsch, a researcher at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, said they got about 4.5 inches of rain last weekend.

“We were in a moisture deficiency before that. Not a drought but we needed some rain, just not that much.”

He said the growing degree units this year have been 8% above normal, which has helped spur growth. And the area is about 2 inches above normal precipitation for this time of year.

“Crops are normal or a week ahead for maturity and easily two weeks ahead of last year,” Vetsch said.

“Aside from some specific areas that had wind or hail damage, the rest of southern Minnesota looks excellent. We still have a month-and-a-half of the growing season yet but the forecast for the next 10 days looks very good.”

Vetsch said there haven’t been many reports of soybean aphid problems, or other pests, as of yet.

“In the next few weeks we might see some corn leaf disease. Corn root worm damage has been an issue in some areas of the state. That’s something growers will have to look for.”

This week’s USDA crop report said heavy wind and rain damaged crops in some areas of Minnesota but boosted soil moisture supplies and pasture conditions statewide.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 2% very short, 7% short, 73% adequate and 18% surplus.

Corn silking was at 90%, 13 days ahead of last year and eight days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn condition improved to 84% good to excellent.

Soybeans blooming reached 89%, nine days ahead of last year and five days ahead of normal. Soybeans were 55% setting pods, 10 days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the average. Soybean condition improved to 84% good to excellent.

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