Minnesota farmers carefully watching thaw for planting season
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. (FOX 9) – Minnesota farmers are on edge, waiting to see what spring will bring for their crops because a little flooding could do a lot of damage.
For farmer and seed salesman Greg Brand, one look at the remaining snow piles and standing water on his land makes him wonder how soon he and his fellow farmers will be able to begin planting.
“It could mean lower yield, delayed planting and if we didn’t get some of that tillage done it could be critical, too,” said Brand.
“We are about 200 – 300 percent above normal for our precipitation in terms of total precipitation snow, rainfall, etc.,” said David Nicolai, University of Minnesota Extension crops educator.
Nicolai says ideally most farmers like to start planting in mid-April.
“A lot of this really has to melt before the fields are in workable condition,” he said.
Anywhere from eight to 12 inches of snowpack remains on the central and western Minnesota landscape.
“Nothing’s guaranteed, yield and the prices are kind of up in the air until you get the crop, put it in the bin and you sell it,” said Brand.
That’s why Brand says he wouldn’t mind if April swapped showers for more sunshine in order to make for good tillage and optimum proceeds.
“It’ll get planted, it’s just how late, and every few days you’re late, it takes a little bit of the yield off the top and that hurts your pocketbook critically,” said Brand.
While it would still have an impact on the total yield, Nicolai says, if most farmers can be back in the field at the latest by mid-May, there’s a good chance they will end up with an adequate crop.