Most area crops look good, but pockets of drought continue

·3 min read

Jul. 28—MANKATO — When rains come, it's often a case of the haves and have-nots.

Madelia farmer Harold Wolle was one of the have-nots when thunderstorms moved through last weekend.

"We didn't get any appreciable rain here. The storms developed on the Blue Earth County line and to the east, and we didn't get much in Watonwan County."

Tom Hoverstad, of the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, said a large region to the east and southeast of Mankato came out well as the storm dropped 2-4 inches of rain.

"We have enough moisture to carry corn through the pollination period," Hoverstad said.

"But from Mankato to the west, they could use an inch of rain anytime. And the forecast is for hot weather, so it'd be nice to get rain before that."

The weekly Drought Monitor map for Minnesota, released Thursday, is little unchanged from last week.

The area of "abnormally dry" did move farther up the eastern border of Minnesota, through the Twin Cities and up to near Duluth.

South-central Minnesota remains mostly in a moderate drought. The eastern corner of Sibley County and several counties to the east remain in a severe drought.

The northern half of the state has normal moisture conditions, as does the southern tier of counties along the Iowa border.

None of the state is in an extreme drought.

While rains have been spotty, a majority of Minnesota farmers report good to excellent crop conditions, according to the USDA crop report released Monday.

Farmers reported that 52% of soybeans are in good condition and 10 % in excellent shape.

For corn, 53% was in good condition and 10 % in excellent condition.

Wolle said that overall the crops still look good, but his area will need some rain soon to help corn through the pollination period.

Many of his fields also suffered wind damage a couple of weeks ago.

"We had a tremendous windstorm. It didn't affect the soybeans because they were short enough, but the corn was flattened in a number of our fields."

He said a lot of the cornstalks are now gooseneck and about 10-40% of the fields he checked had stalks snapped, effectively killing them.

While the coming week or two remain critical for corn development as tassels have set, soybeans have a little more time.

"Beans get a lot of yield potential in August, so the rains are going to be necessary for that to happen,"" Wolle said.

Hoverstad said that despite a cool start to spring, growing degree days are about four or five days ahead of normal. "June and July have been pretty warm and put the growing season a little ahead of schedule."

The 10-day forecast for the Mankato area looks to put stress on crops.

Temperatures heat up next week with Wednesday's temperatures edging up near 100 degrees. There are only small chances of rain through next week.