Jordan cornfield

This season’s corn crop is off to a better start than last year’s.

Favorable weather conditions have put Scott and Carver county crops ahead of the five-year growth average, according to recent USDA crop progress reports.

“We had an excellent window,” said Colleen Carlson, University of Minnesota Extension educator for Carver and Scott counties. “We came into the season with the right amount of moisture in the ground and Mother Nature has cooperated with us. There was time to get the spring tillage done, time to apply nitrogen, time to get the crop in the ground.”

The situation presents a marked improvement over last year’s disastrous planting season, which left 1,000-1,500 acres of farmland unplanted. Most farmers in 2019 weren’t able get seeds in the ground until Memorial Day — or later.

But this season is a different story.

Corn planting progress is almost complete with 99% of the crop planted. Corn emergence is 19 days ahead of last year and eight days ahead of the five-year average. Soybean planting is 95% completed — 17 days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of average.

Despite great conditions so far, the crops could use more rain in the coming weeks, otherwise the area runs the risk of attracting aphids and other pests.

“We’re going to need some timely rains, less windy conditions for spraying and if we have less wind we’ll have less insect pressure,” Carlson said.

Carlson said tariffs and COVID-19 disruptions, such as a decrease in ethanol demand, has depressed trade and driven prices down.

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