Farmers: Recent damp weather is more bad newsPublished 3:00pm Sunday, May 19, 2013
Promising sunshine and warm weather may have lifted spirits last week, but that has come crashing down in the form of more rain.
According to the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis., there is a chance of rain every day through next Thursday, along with chances for thunderstorms, as well. The saturated conditions are bad news for farmers, who have been significantly delayed in planting corn and soybeans this year.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 18 percent of this year’s projected corn crop had been planted as of May 12, down from 86 percent on that same day 2012. While a few farmers have planted some soybeans, USDA’s Crop Progress report showed 0 percent of the state’s soybeans were in by May 12, which is down from 40 percent in 2012.
According to the U.S. Drought portal’s May 11 report, portions of southeastern Minnesota’s soil were rated from abnormally moist to wet.
And plenty of rain has fallen since then, as well. The conditions are a sharp contrast from last year, when farmers put seeds into severely dry ground in the area. At that point, much of the Midwest was in a severe drought, which started in August 2011. Some longtime farmers said it was the driest planting they could recall since the 1970s.
“The subsoil moisture is non-existent,” was Pete Tangren’s comment on April 12 last year.
According to the U.S. Drought monitor, southeastern Minnesota has no longer been considered in a drought for several weeks. Furthermore, the drought is steadily receding westward.
The Austin area is in the midst of one of its wettest springs on record, which NWS tracks from March 1 through May 31. As of Friday, Austin had recorded 13.99 inches of rain in that period, compared to 1945’s record of 15.96. Furthermore, Austin was at a record for rainfall from Jan. 1 to May 17 with 15.56 inches of rain. The previous record for that period was 14.58 in 1995. According to guages at the Austin airport, Austin had received an additional 2.23 inches of rain on Friday.