Area crops doing well on high ground

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 07/29/97.

Area crops on high ground are looking great with the abundant rainfall but the lowlands are suffering, according to area farmers.

Depending on where you live, the total rainfall in July has been recorded anywhere from eight to 15 inches. Curt Wegner, north of Paynesville, has four different rain gauges on his farm place and from June 24 to July 25 he has recorded 11 inches. Mary Kunstleben, who also lives north of Paynesville, recorded nine inches thus far for the month. Bob Heitke, northeast of Paynesville, recorded eight inches.

If you lived in the city of Paynesville, more than 10 inches fell from June 24 to July 8. The exact amount for the month is unknown.

Wegner reminded people that in May and June we were wishing for rain as crops were drying up in the fields.

In the coffee shop last week, the farmers were joking they would have to do what Canterbury Downs did, bring in helicopters to dry out their hayfields.

Marvin Kunstleben said he had 75 acres of hay down and hoped the rains would hold off long enough to get it baled.

Gary Reeck, a neighbor to Kunstleben, said he had all his second crop hay harvested, but he had water standing in corn and soybean rows.

Mrs. Oluf Johnson, south of Paynesville, reported they had 14 inches of rain thus far in July. She added their crops are looking good with all the rain.

Dan Martin, Benton County crop expert serving Stearns County, said crops are doing pretty well. A big concern for soybeans on wetter ground, is the development of root rot and white mold.

ďIt will also be a challenge for farmers to harvest second crop hay without the hay getting wet,Ē Martin said. ďFarmers will need to watch for making ruts in the field which will damage the crowns of plants and affect the next cutting of hay.Ē

Martin urged farmers to watch for potato leaf hoppers in alfalfa fields. When the stems are less than three inches tall, take a sweep with an insect net, if you find three hoppers in the net, that is too many as the insect will hurt the regrowth for the next crop.

ďThe soil moisture will make for a very promising third crop of hay,Ē Martin said. ďRight now the big challenge is harvesting hay and the small grain crops without a lot of wind and rain. Everything is looking good and green,Ē he added.

According to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistic Service weekly crop report of July 21, heat and humidity helped crops develop quickly, but excessive rainfall and strong windstorms left much of the state hoping for some drier and calmer days.

The July 28 report said the above-normal amount of rain received during July was initially welcomed after a dry spring and has been more than sufficient for plant needs. Excess soil moisture is now causing widespread problems.

As of July 25, statewide the topsoil moisture was rated three percent short, 61 percent adequate and 36 percent surplus.

Corn has been doing relatively well in jungle-like moisture conditions. Corn height gained 16 inches during an excellent growing week to reach an average of 59 inches, exceeding the height a year ago by three inches. Corn is 72 percent tasseling, versus 42 percent a year ago.

Jack Bugbee, a Lake Koronis resident, said the rainfalls raised the lake level a foot the first week of July but since that time the level has stabilized.

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