Snowy, wet spring delays corn planting


Winter’s wet and strong hold this spring has delayed corn planting compared to past years, but has replenished soil moisture from last year’s late season drought.
According to the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, the late winter-early spring has been very cold and wet, leaving soil frost on some places and ice on some lakes. 
The Center has sampled soil to a depth of five feet to determine soil moisture. Last year, after the drought, soil moisture was very low at 3.63 inches going into the winter. 
This spring is better.
“Samples this spring indicate we now have approximately 9.2 inches of available soil moisture. March precipitation totaled 3.55 inches and so far in April (before the April 18-19 snow storm) we have received over 3.5 inches meaning over five inches of this precipitation soaked into the soil profile,” said Deanne Nelson, program associate for the University of Minnesota and Southern Research and Outreach Center. “This is good news for area farmers who were concerned that the dry conditions from last fall would persist through this spring.”
April has been very cold and wet with measurable precipitation being recorded on 11 of 17 days. Air temperature from April 10 to 17 averaged 33.6 degrees, which is about 12 degrees colder than normal. Precipitation totaled 1.27 inches of liquid (most of it coming as six inches of snowfall), which is 0.54 inches more than normal. 
Of course, the air temperature and weather have also affect the soil temperatures this spring. At two inches, the soil temperatures averaged 33.9 degrees, or about 12 degrees colder than normal. 
This week in 2012, farmers were enjoying a much nicer spring when temperatures averaged 45.3 degrees, with soil temperatures averaging 51 degrees and rainfall totaling 1.38 inches. 
“Last year at this time corn planting was in full-swing,” Nelson said. “The soil moisture situation is the only good news we have to report. After a March that was seven degrees colder than normal April temperatures have been averaging eight degrees below normal. With more cold weather in the forecast, we could see our coldest April on record. Record snowfall for April is 20 inches, set in 1983, another record we would not like to break this month.”

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