Impact of early frost varies

Published 10:38 am Monday, September 22, 2014

MANKATO — An early frost came at a bad time for Minnesota farmers, who were hoping to continue to grow their crops into October after heavy spring rains delayed planting or killed crops in the region.

The effect of the frost has been different from field to field, with farms in Sibley and Le Sueur counties seeing the most impact, The Mankato Free Press reported.

Amboy farmer Gary Eisenmenger said the lowest portions of his field got cold enough to freeze plants to the ground.

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Eisenmenger said his crops of soybean and corn were already struggling to mature because of the summer’s unusually cool and wet weather.

“Our plants weren’t as mature. So, the frost significantly slows down the maturing process. That’s why the frost is a much bigger event than it should be,” Eisenmenger said.

Kent Thiesse, a farm analyst and vice president at MinnStar Bank, said the impact from plant to plant was largely dependent on the geography and amount of moisture present when temperatures dropped.

“It doesn’t matter in the bigger (national) picture,” Thiesse said. “But it could have a big impact on the (regional crops) depending on whether it was enough of a kill frost for some fields.”

Eisenmenger said the frost is not an insurmountable challenge, but will take time to overcome.

“Mother Nature. Ha. She holds all of the cards. All this technology we have can easily be trumped,” Eisenmenger said. “But when Mother Nature cooperates, it’s wonderful.”