Farmers hopeful for better planting season after seasons of weather struggles

Minnesota Drought Conditions

Minnesota Drought Conditions

It’s planting season for farmers across Minnesota.

Drought conditions are much improved in the center of the state but to the north and south, it’s still very dry.

Scott Hoese, a farmer in Carver County, savors days when his 1,150-acre dairy farm gets a good soaking as he gears up for planting season.

“Right now in this area, we get adequate moisture, but that’s me saying that today,” Hoese said. “If it quits raining in the next month, we’re going to be short again like last year.”

Hoese’s family has farmed there for six generations, raising corn, soybeans, alfalfa and right now, 150 cows.

“Every day, a couple of times a day, we’re watching the weather, see what’s going to happen today, tomorrow and the next week,” he stated.

The latest drought report for Minnesota below shows the white areas, including Carver County, are in pretty good shape with no dry conditions. However, areas of northern Minnesota are grappling with moderate to severe drought.

“This is our third straight drought in a row,” said Luigi Romolo, Minnesota state climatologist with the DNR.

“The fact that we weren’t even getting a whole lot of rain over the winter was a bit concerning… no precipitation versus frozen or liquid precipitation, that’s a big deal,” Romolo added.

Hoese says he is fortunate in that they’ve gotten a couple of inches of rain in the last few weeks but the DNR says in the severely dry areas, it’ll take a couple of months of above-average rainfall to get things back to normal.

Hoese recalls the 1988 drought was especially bad when his farm yielded only 20 bushels of corn per acre — versus 200 last year.

Now, he’s hoping for more rain and some sunshine, too.

“You always look for sunshine the next day and if it doesn’t come, you look for it the next day. Looking forward to that,” Hoese said.

Hoese says an abnormally dry year can reduce crop yields by up to 30%. The DNR says with continued rainfall, things should improve.