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Rain slows crop progress

Minnesota's corn and soybean development continues to lag the five-year averages, but conditions have been improving.

The weekly crops and weather report for Minnesota from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the statewide average corn height is 10 inches tall, compared with 32 inches last year and a five-year average of 21 inches. Corn condition improved slightly to 59 percent good to excellent, compared to 58 percent a week earlier. Corn planting is nearly finished at 96 percent complete, up 2 percentage points from a week earlier.

The old adage that corn should be knee-high by the Fourth of July may not come to fruition in some fields this year, as a cool and wet spring hasn't offered the heat units necessary to fuel plant growth. Typically, corn fields are tasseling by early July.

Despite the wet weather, soybean planting advanced 10 points to 94 percent complete. Soybean conditions are 58 percent good to excellent. Soybean emergence advanced 17 percentage points to 81 percent complete.

Dusty Neugebauer, precision ag manager for New Vision Cooperative, said farm fields need sunshine — something they haven't had for a consistent seven-day stretch since the crops went in the ground in May.

"Last week we started to catch up on heat units — we're maybe 25 to 30 heat units closer to normal," he said.

Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension corn agronomist, said southeast Minnesota farmers are looking at prevented plant acres, meaning they'll collect insurance for not planting cash crops there, and instead will plant cover crops.

"Overall, the corn in southwest Minnesota is looking far better than in other parts of the state,"said Coulter. "Assuming the corn didn't get damaged by wind or hail recently, it should be sitting in really good shape." Coulter said.

As for the ponding water, he advises farmers to watch for nitrogen deficiencies in their corn crop.

"There's not much we can do at this point except finish up weed control and scout for disease and pests," Coulter said. "With the rains, it's been difficult to get in and take care of the weeds. The same thing is happening for beans."

There may be more aerial spraying done later this week as farmers push up against a deadline to apply certain chemicals before the corn crop gets too tall.

Source: PostBulletin

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