Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Cropping conditions mimicking last year

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 09/23/2013 9:34 AM

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LAMBERTON, Minn. — The weather and cropping conditions of 2013 aren't that unusual when compared to the past two years.

"It's really amazing because this year is really mimicking what it was the last two years with an early spring, soil moisture and then dry conditions going into fall," said soils scientist Jeff Strock, of the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton.

Strock said soil benefited from good moisture storage.

"Overall, during the growing season we had as much moisture as last year," he said. "We were better off this year because of all that rain we had in June. A lot of it stayed in the ground. And, while last year was hotter and windier, we had relatively good conditions. Last year temperatures were hot and dry with temps around 80 to 90 degrees. This year they were cooler at 70 and 80."

An early frost is a concern, but corn is at the dent stage in west central and northwestern Minnesota, said regional Extension educator Doug Holen.

With the cooler temperatures, plants didn't need as much water during this growing season compared to last year, Strock said.

The dry conditions of the past month combined with excessive heat have affected crops.

Excessive heat has resulted in aborted corn kernels and aborted pods, Holen said.

Rains have been spotty. A shower last week south of Fergus Falls into Dalton delivered three-quarters to over an inch of rain. Pipestone received a three-inch rain in August while Lamberton had six-tenths.

Some farmers in the Waubun and Ada areas are beginning soybean harvest, Holen said.

Soybeans in southern Minnesota have four to six weeks to go before plants will dry down adequately to be harvested.

Test weights are a concern. Small soybean pods are expected, but it could be much worse.

"You look at the conditions we've had and you see what's out there and it's a testament to the genetics and farming practices that are happening on the land," he said.