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MASON CITY, Iowa – While all this rain and snow we’ve been getting this spring helps out with drought conditions… there’s also a downside when it comes to farming, and a lot of north Iowa, southern Minnesota farmers are playing the waiting game.
“So it’s, it’s time, we just need the weather to cooperate,” says Mason City farmer Kevin Pope.
Usually, farmers in the area like to get seeds in the ground by April 20th, obviously that didn’t happen this year but Pope is hopeful that it won’t be long now.
“It’s been wet and it’s been cold but the forecast coming here for this week looks really promising. Temps close to 70 and the rain supposed to kind of end here for a while so we can hit the fields,” he adds.
Experts say that seeds need ground temperatures to be at least 50 degrees for an extended period of time in order to develop properly.
“Right now the soil temperatures are in the mid 40s and the seed isn’t going to do a whole lot if you plant it anyway right now even if you could get the planter in the field,” explains Rick Pleggenkuhle from Iowa State Extension.
Although the weather has delayed planting the seeds you just won’t hear too many farmers complaining about all the moisture we’ve been getting.
Pope says, “It’s been a real blessing to get this ground recharged and get us going for this year.”
But the big question is – how will this cold, wet weather that’s delaying the planting season affect the final crop?
“I don’t think there’s any yield reduction right at the moment, if we go another couple of weeks with rain where they can’t get out and plant then we may start seeing some real yield reduction but right at the moment, I don’t think you’re going to see any problems,” adds Pleggenkuhle.
Until those farmers can start planting seeds, many of them like Pope have been getting their equipment ready for the season.
For the past three years in a row Iowa farmers have had below trend-line yields.