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Weather dictating pace of spring field work

It was chilly, it got warmer and now, it got a little colder. And the local field work is waiting on the pattern of weather.

John Mahoney, a crop consultant with Centrol said although wheat has been planted in area fields in the lighter soil any wheat to be planted in heavier soil is waiting.

"We've been cool and cloudy enough so that soil has dried out. There is still frost coming out (of the ground)," Mahoney said. "It looked for a while like the frost was almost out, a month or month and half back. We had a cool snap and there wasn't as much frost out as we thought."

The fields haven't been busy as of late. And they may not be into next week.

"The forecast looks cool and wet. I don't know that there will be a whole lot done (for awhile)...," Mahoney said.

Paul Groneberg, a semi-retired crop consultant with Centrol works primarily in Grant County. The recent rains stalled planting but they were welcomed, he said.

The rain helped to loosen the frost, Groneberg said.

While field work has been delayed for some planting and other work, Mahoney said none of the farmers he worked with are getting anxious.

"Ideal planting around here is around the 25th of April," Mahoney said. But if things don't pick up around that date, he would expect farmers to start to get anxious.

Neither Groneberg or Mahoney expect farmers to have a drastic change in their planting plans in a corn or soybean rotation.

"There may be a few acres switched back to corn with the drop in bean prices," Mahoney said.

Prices for soybeans and corn remain low, similar to what they were a year ago. The cash price for corn i the Morris area on April 12 for delivery in April ranged from $3.09 per bushel to $3.19 per bushel, according to the Minnesota Corn Growers website.

The cash price for soybeans in the Morris area on April 12 for delivery in April was $8.54 per bushel to $8.44 per bushel, according to the Minnesota Corn Growers website.

Corn growers in Stevens County had a record year in 2016, Mahoney said. But, "prices still making that a very tight year," Mahoney said.

If corn and soybean prices continue to be low, "We're gonna need an above average crop to break even. Unless the prices (really) go up," Mahoney said.

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