Planting Starts Early 03 Apr 12

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.