Harvest back on; weather perfect


Perfect weather to dry farmers’ fields has graced Minnesota, overcoming southern Minnesota’s flooding problems and letting farmers start up their combines again.

The harvest on higher ground got started last week, USDA’s Minnesota office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service said in its weekly crop and weather report on Monday. Since then, meteorologists have called for above normal temperatures and dry conditions statewide to continue until early next week.

There’s still mud in the fields, but Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative farmers are back lifting beets from higher ground, a Renville County farmer said Tuesday.

The USDA report now finds 34 percent of the sugarbeet crop harvested, when 24 percent would be average progress; 29 percent of the soybean crop is harvested, when 36 percent would be normal; and only 4 percent of the corn crop is in, when 6 percent would be normal for this week.

Assuming fields dry sufficiently for heavy equipment, progress with the harvest should take a giant step forward this week. USDA said 92 percent of the corn crop is in the mature stage, compared to 34 percent last year and a 74 percent five-year average.

Marshall, in southwestern Minnesota, continues to have the wettest accumulation of rainfall this season to interfere with farm work. Measuring since the April 1 start of the growing season, Marshall has 16.15 inches above normal moisture. Other wet spots in key agricultural areas include Pipestone, 14.42 inches above normal; Waseca, 12.40 inches; Winona, 12.10 inches; Winnebago, 11.76 inches; and Willmar has 11.14 inches above normal rainfall.