Despite downpours, MN soybean farmers make planting progress

Heavy rains in southern Minnesota during the second week of May stunted planting progress for many farmers throughout the region. Overall, as of May 14, Minnesota farmers had planted about 30% of the state’s soybean crop, compared to only 10% at this point in 2022.

Brown County farmer Cole Trebesch said his farm in Springfield received between seven and 10 inches of rain over the past week, halting his planting plans. As of May 17, he had about 25% of his soybean crop planted. He’s nearly done with corn, but will likely have to replant portions of his crop due to the deluge of rain.

“We’re behind where we’d like to be,” said Trebesch, a director with the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC). “With that much rain, it’ll set us back a ways.”

Fortunately, the extended forecast in Trebesch’s area calls for moderate, drier conditions.

“We hope to get back in the field as soon as we can,” he said.

Zach Garberg of Bakke Farms plants his 2023 crop in Twin Valley. Farmers are taking advantage of dry, moderate conditions this week.

In southeast Minnesota, Glen Groth, the Council’s District 9 representative, was about 60% finished planting soybeans. His area in Winona County didn’t receive quite as much rain last week, putting Groth about right on average for this time of the season.

Council Director Paul Freeman, who farms in Starbuck in west-central Minnesota, also reported smoother progress. By May 17, he had finished planting corn and just begun planting soybeans. After a long, wet winter and cool spring, Freeman was counting his blessings despite a later-than-normal start.

“Planting is going good,” Freeman said. “We’re getting all the fields planted, no wet spots to speak of. It’s amazing what we can get done when the sun shines. A lot of the crop got planted in the last week.”

Freeman expects he’ll finish planting his soybean crop within a handful of days.

“The name of the game this year is going to be timely rains,” Freeman said. “We’re sitting on low subsoil moisture.”

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association Director Mike Skaug’s wheat crop has started emerging. Skaug, who farms in Beltrami with his son, Ryan, has finished planting corn and is turning to soybeans this week.

“It’s been a pretty good start so far,” Skaug said. “We’re happy with where we’re at.”

Nationwide, farmers had completed about half of the 2023 soybean crop, ahead of last year’s pace and above the five-year average.

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