Alan Roelofs drives a corn planter in a field near his southwest Minnesota farm two miles southwest of Tyler. --Mark Steil/MPR News
Alan Roelofs drives a corn planter in a field near his southwest Minnesota farm two miles southwest of Tyler. -- Mark Steil/MPR News

Archived Story

Farming weather

Published 10:36am Monday, May 13, 2013

By Mark Steil
Minnesota Public Radio News

TYLER — After a summer of drought and a winter that seemed endless, Minnesota farmers welcomed some decent planting weather over the past week.

Many made good progress sowing their fields before the rains returned, and shut down work again in most of the state. Even though planting is now running behind, farmers still believe they will see a good crop.

“Sun’s out, warm weather, winds from the south, it’s an ideal planting day,” farmer Alan Roelofs said earlier this week.

Alan Roelofs replaces the lid on a seed hopper on his 24-row corn planter. Like most Minnesota farmers, Roelofs got a late start this year on planting corn.
Alan Roelofs replaces the lid on a seed hopper on his 24-row corn planter. Like most Minnesota farmers, Roelofs got a late start this year on planting corn.

The wet spring, complete with snowstorms, has been difficult for farmers eager to get a crop in the ground. So when the weather took a more spring-like turn, it was a welcome sign that the fields were ready.

Roelofs, 63, farms near Tyler in southwest Minnesota with his son and son-in-law. As they prepared to seed a field, they tore bags of corn and dumped the seed into plastic hoppers on their corn planting rig.

“Looks like we’re ready,” Roelofs said after sliding the seed bin cover in place. “Good day to be a farmer.”

Last fall, good days to be a farmer were scarce. Southwestern Minnesota was in extreme drought. But the wet spring has moderated the dry conditions.

When Roelofs starts his tractor and pulls the planter into a 60-acre field, he’ll need about four hours to seed, planting 24 rows at a time at just over six miles an hour.

“The ground’s dry enough, and [we] haven’t had to worry about getting stuck or anything,” he said. “It’s been working really nice.”

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