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Lingering winter affects farmers


by Trinity Gruenberg

    Spring has been here for over a month, according to the calender, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. With  the winter-like conditions we’ve been experiencing, farmers are planning for a late planting season while beef producers struggle with calving. 

    While spring is finally starting to emerge, the damage has already been done. 

    Pro Ag Agronomist Marcus Meiners explained that we didn’t have a lot of snow from November through January, causing the frost to penetrate deeper into the ground and now it is being insulated by the snow. When it begins to thaw it will become a mushy mess.

    Typically by this time of year, small grains are already being planted. Last year at this time, some farmers were already planting corn. 

    “It’s a moderate delay,” said Meiners.

    They believe farmers will be able to start planting around mid May, if it doesn’t rain too much. Farmers have to wait for 45-50 degree soil surface temps.  Just because the snow may finally be melting, the ground will take more time to thaw and warm up.

    Due to the late planting season and the shortened amount of time to plant corn, Meiners predicts there may be a shift towards soybeans. Depending on how the season goes, corn prices could possibly increase and soybean prices may fall. 

    Meiners recalled four years ago when there was a tremendous amount of rain that oversaturated the fields, keeping farmers out of them, causing a late planting season. 

    “There were cattails growing in fields that were not close to swamps,” said Meiners.

    Hopefully, that won’t happen this year with the late season snow melt. . . . 

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