Some farmers are already planting crops in central and southern Minnesota.
That’s because of the mild, dry winter and record warmth in March.
In its first weekly crop-weather report for Minnesota this season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers expect full-scale fieldwork to begin on April 12. That’s seven days ahead of average.
The USDA says spring wheat was 3 percent planted as of Sunday, oats were 18 percent planted and barley was 6 percent planted. That compares with zero percent for those crops last year and for the five-year average.
Three percent of land was prepared for corn and 1 percent was prepared for soybeans.
Statewide average temperatures were 10 degrees above normal last week. Rain helped replenish some soil moisture, but the southern third of Minnesota continues to undergo a severe drought.