April’s quick warmup gets spring planting underway in Minnesota

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Area farmers were out doing fieldwork and planting prior to Monday’s rain as April’s temperatures went from very cool to nice and warm.

After a very cool start to April, temperatures warmed up dramatically the past week allowing farmers to start spring planting.

Through the first 12 days of April, highs averaged just 45 degrees, but between April 13 and Monday, April 18, highs averaged 75 – 30 degrees warmer. Lows during the first 12 days of April averaged 23 degrees, but over the past week they have averaged 47 degrees – 24 degrees warmer.

Those higher temperatures have warmed the soil considerably over the past week. At the Swan Lake Research Farm in Stevens County the average soil temperature from April 1 to April 12 was 37 degrees at both 2 inches and 4 inches. As of Monday, the soil at 2 inches had warmed to an average of 53 degrees and at 4 inches to 50 degrees.

“Research shows that 50 percent corn emergence will occur in 20 days at an average soil temperature of 50 degrees, which is reduced to only 10 days with an average soil temperature of 60 degrees,” Kent Thiesse, former Swift County Extension educator and a farm management analyst, wrote in his column last week.

“Most agronomists are encouraging producers to be patient with the initiation of corn planting in 2016,” he said. “There is no need to be in a hurry, or to plant corn before soil conditions are ready. There is an increased likelihood of potential frost damage when corn is planted in mid-April. Most producers are willing to take that risk, given the extra yield potential of the earlier planted corn.”

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