Rain slows spring planting, but moisture is welcome

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Minnesota farmers made good progress planting between rain showers during the week ending Sunday, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Despite only 3.8 days suitable for fieldwork, current year planting progress continues to make gains against the five-year average for most crops.

Though topsoil moisture levels are very good throughout much of the state, west central Minnesota farmers welcomed the rains that came Sunday night and Monday. The U.S. Drought Monitor showed the western two-thirds of Swift County in an abnormally dry area with both Big Stone and Traverse counties to the west in a moderate drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor also showed western Pope County, all of Stevens County and western Chippewa County in an abnormally dry area.

While only 12 percent of the state’s cropland is short or very short of topsoil moisture, Swift, Pope, Stevens and Chippewa counties make up a good portion of that number. Benson received 71 hundredths of an inch of rain Sunday night into Monday while there were reports of nearly 2 inches in the Holloway and Appleton areas...

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