Farmers get prime time for corn planting
Published 9:23 am Tuesday, May 27, 2014
MANKATO — As recently as a week ago, many farmers across southern and central Minnesota were worried about getting their corn planted ahead of a key crop insurance deadline. But they’ve been taking advantage of the warm, sunny weather and many had their corn planted by the start of the Memorial holiday weekend.
Kevin Paap, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, said the long, cold, wet spring caused some real concerns about getting corn into the ground, but last week’s weather created nearly perfect corn-planting conditions.
“This has been a great week,” Paap said while planting soybeans Saturday on his farm near Garden City in south-central Minnesota. “This has been probably the best week for a lot of farmers; the first week for some. We were too wet early, we needed some good, warm drying days so we could get the crop in.”
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Now, Paap said, a little rain would help the sprouting corn plants.
Planting corn is very time-sensitive, he said.
“Corn, because corn is a grass, corn needs so many growing degree units, or heat units, to mature,” he said. “So the earlier you can plant the corn, the better off you are.”
Paap said soybeans are different because, as a legume, they depend on daylight.
“So, no matter when you plant your soybeans in the spring, soybeans are able to sense when the days start to get shorter, and they will start the maturing process,” he said. “So no matter when you plant the soybeans, they mature at the right time in the fall.”
Paap said he planted his corn May 7-9, and those plants are already a couple of inches tall.
May and April showers have been good to Minnesota.
The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows some moderate drought in southwest Minnesota, from Fairmont to Granite Falls to Pipestone, but otherwise the rest of the state is normal. No drought. Not even abnormally dry.
It was as recently as April 22 that Freeborn County was listed as abnormally dry. At the end of last September it was listed in moderate drought.