Waiting on the weather: Precipitation keeping farmers out of fields

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The golfers, bikers and farmers were all out in force, and now they may have to head back inside.

Potential thunderstorms moving into the area may lead the way for cold, wet weather for several more days, according to the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis. The temperature could dip to 43 degrees overnight and may only reach 44 on Wednesday, coupled with as much as a half-inch of rain. Overnight lows could dip to 33 Wednesday night, according to the NWS forecast, and 1 to 3 inches of snow could fall. There is also a chance of rain and snow on Thursday.

The temperature could return to the 60s on Monday, with rain, however.

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In its weekly crops and weather report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Minnesota farmers have managed to begin only very limited field work, mainly on higher ground and well-drained fields. Local farmers began applying fertilizer to fields over the weekend, however, cold and rain may halt planting for a few more days.

The USDA report says producers continue to expect full-scale fieldwork to begin around May 7, about 2 1⁄2 weeks later than the five-year average.

Despite the late start, experts say there’s still time. Corn yields in Minnesota don’t typically suffer unless planting is delayed past mid-May, though there’s some concern about the impact on yields for spring wheat and other small grains.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.