Many Minnesota crops not ready for early freeze
ST. PAUL Ready or not, a cold snap hit Minnesota overnight. And many crops weren't ready. The forecasted frost arrived before major crops were fully mature. If it proves to be a killing freeze that ends the growing season, soybean and corn yields...
Ready or not, a cold snap hit Minnesota overnight. And many crops weren't ready.
The forecasted frost arrived before major crops were fully mature. If it proves to be a killing freeze that ends the growing season, soybean and corn yields will suffer across Minnesota.
Before the freeze, USDA forecast that Minnesota farmers would harvest 1.26 billion bushels of corn this fall and 292 million bushels of soybeans. But that presumed normal weather.
At Tuesday's prices, that's $11 billion worth of corn and soybeans.
"This is an early frost and the level of damage is going to be larger because we got started late," said Seth Naeve, a soybean specialist with the University of Minnesota. "It's going to hurt us, and it's going to be a little bit variable."
On Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued a freeze warning across all of central and southern Minnesota. Temperatures early today were forecast to be in the mid-20s to low 30s.
"These conditions could kill crops and other sensitive vegetation," the weather service said.
Some Minnesota crops have reached maturity and generally wouldn't be affected by an early freeze, which comes two to three weeks earlier than usual.
But most of Minnesota's 7.1 million acres of soybeans and 7.6 million acres of corn are not yet mature.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that as of Sunday, just 9 percent of Minnesota's soybean acres were at the final, leaf-dropping stage of development. Just 10 percent
of the corn had reached maturity.
"The very late-planted beans, and the beans that are really still green, they are probably going to have at least a 25 percent yield hit," Naeve said. "But that's going to be probably the extreme. That's going to be the worst case."
Liz Stahl, an extension crop educator with the University of Minnesota, said crops around the Worthington area have been quickly nearing maturity.
"It's been so dry, it kind of sped things along," Stahl said.
But there's a lot of variation from field to field. Spring was so rainy and cold that planting delays were commonplace.
Some cornfields were planted a month later than usual. Those will be most affected by the frost.
"In the worst-case scenario, for the late-planted, fuller-season stuff out there, (the yield loss) could be up to 8 to 12 percent," Stahl said. "But I think most of it is further along than that."
Distributed by MCT Information Services