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Late snow, rain a drought-breaker or planting delay?

April 19, 2013
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

The three and a half inches of rain Estherville has received since April 6 may very well have broken the back of a nearly two-year drought that had a number of people in prayer meetings late last summer.

"It's all good now. It's pretty ideal," said Iowa State University Extension crop specialist Paul Kassel from Spencer Friday.

Kassel said there was a high rate of absorption of April moisture - much of which came in the form of snow and sleet - and which continues to seep slowly into the ground, recharging not just the topsoil but also the subsoil which was badly depleted by a two-year dry spell.

Article Photos

Welcome moisture came to the Estherville area in April. At this point, no serious planting delays are expected.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Granted, the late moisture could affect planting, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will impact yields - at least yet.

"I feel there may be some planting delays," Kassel said. "We're not sitting to bad yet."

Kassel said two years ago - another wet spring - everyone was planting by the first week of May.

As for Dakotas, particularly from northern South Dakota into North Dakota, there could be extended planting delays, Kassel said.

Seed dealer and crop insurance provider Alan Madden of Ringsted agreed producers like the moisture and don't seem too troubled yet about planting delays.

There's more of a concern with any moisture that might come as snow next week.

"We're all pretty comfortable" at the present time, Madden said, adding that no one's talking about switching varieties yet.

"If we get it in (crop) by the fifth of May we're really not behind the eight ball at all," Madden said.



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