Despite deepening drought, a good crop for Minnesota

Crops and harvest progressing well

Corn in eastern Carver County
Corn Tuesday in eastern Carver County
Paul Huttner | MPR News

It’s been a weird year for Minnesota farmers:

  • April brought cold air with heavy rain and some snow. Morning temperatures ran in the 30s through April 28.

  • May brought over three inches of rain, and the season’s first two 90-degree days.

  • Then the rainfall spigot turned off in June. Rainfall for June and July was just 2.31 inches in the Twin Cities. That’s almost six inches below average.

  • June delivered eight days of 90-degree heat. The Twin Cities topped out at 101 degrees on June 20.

In spite of highly erratic weather patterns this growing season, most farmers and crops in Minnesota fared pretty well overall.

This week’s Minnesota Crop Report shows that 91 percent of Minnesota’s corn crop ranges from fair to excellent condition. And the dry field conditions are actually working to speed this year’s harvest.

Minnesota crop report
Minnesota crop report
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Here’s more detail from this week’s U.S. Department of Agriculture crop report for Minnesota.

Minnesota had 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending October 2, 2022, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Much of the state saw its first frost of the season. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 8 percent very short, 29 percent short, 61 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 8 percent very short, 26 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.

Corn dented or beyond reached 98 percent. Corn mature was at 75 percent, two days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn harvested for grain was at 5 percent. Corn condition was 3 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 48 percent good, and 13 percent excellent. Corn for silage was 85 percent harvested.

Soybean coloring reached 99 percent and soybeans dropping leaves was at 86 percent. Soybeans harvested was at 29 percent, one day behind the 5-year average. Soybean condition was 2 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 52 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.

Dry edible beans were 92 percent dropping leaves and 76 percent harvested. Sunflower condition was 0 percent very poor, 0 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 72 percent good, and 9 percent excellent.

Potato harvest was 83 percent complete. Sugarbeet harvest was 13 percent complete. Sugarbeet condition was 1 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 22 percent good, and 56 percent excellent. Pasture condition was rated 6 percent very poor, 13 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 10 percent excellent.

Now with the deepening drought, Minnesota really needs multiple widespread heavy rain events to recharge soils, rivers, and lakes before the freeze-up ahead in late November into December.

So far, the weather maps suggest precipitation for much of October will be well below average.

Precipitation forecast
Precipitation outlook for October.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Stay tuned.

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