Cold, precipitation put damper on spring fieldwork

Published 9:09 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ST. PAUL — Below-normal temperatures and intermittent rain and snow combine to put a damper on spring fieldwork across Minnesota.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said only 1.7 days were suitable for fieldwork in the week ending Sunday. The agency’s weekly crop progress and condition report says low soil temperatures prevented widespread planting of small grains, the first crops Minnesota farmers sow.

Eight percent of Minnesota’s oat acreage has been planted. That’s five days behind the five-year average, but only three days behind last year’s pace. There were scattered reports of barley and spring wheat being planted, except in northern Minnesota.

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Pasture conditions are rated 4 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 44 percent fair, 35 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. Most pastures remain either dormant or just starting to green up.