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Minnesota farmers facing tough replanting decisions

Agriculture.com Staff 05/25/2006 @ 11:52am

Some southern Minnesota farmers are making some tough decisions this week regarding corn replanting.

Wet weather interspersed by cool temperatures has raised havoc with corn emergence in some areas. Yesterday, we caught up with Mark Bernard, a crop consultant in the south-central Minnesota town of New Richland. Corn is having difficulty there pushing through in some fields and replanting decisions are going to be made in the next day or two.

"We're rotary hoed and done about all we can," he says. "It's getting down to make or break time."

Steve Houzenga, who farms in nearby Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, says corn is having difficulty emerging in one of his fields. "I can push my finger down in the soil, but the corn won't come out," he says. The good news is the seed is holding its own in the soil and not rotting. He adds a half-inch of rain would be welcome to aid emergence.

This is a year when weather has turned conventional wisdom on its head in southern Minnesota. If soils are fit to work, farmers have successfully planted corn as early as April 20 in the state. This maximizes a hybrid's full yield potential, which doesn't drop until April 30 in Minnesota.

Greg Gabrielson, a Luverne, Minnesota, farmer and seed dealer, told us last night that some southwestern Minnesota farmers were able to get their corn in during the third week of April. However, some of those fields have had emergence problems, due to a subsequent pounding rain. Meanwhile, corn planted in early May into soils that dodged the pounding rain has fared better.

Some southern Minnesota farmers are making some tough decisions this week regarding corn replanting.

Replant decisions are always difficult, but are more tougher in today's high cost environment of triple stacks and high fuel prices. Bruce Potter, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) specialist with the University of Minnesota, pointed out in an IPM newsletter last week that replanting is part science and part art. Yield potential from reduced stands must be weighed against potential yield reductions from later planting dates.

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