Short Growing Season in Minnesota (Updated Jun 14th 2013)

Nearly 3 million acres of Minnesota cropland haven’t been planted this spring, and on many of those acres, it’s now too late.

Weeks of cold, wet, gray weather have kept tractors out of the fields, tormented farmers and nudged grain prices higher. Ten percent of the state’s cornfields have yet to be planted, along with more than one-fourth of the soybean fields, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.

But the spring weather has not cooperated. Greg Spoden, assistant state climatologist, said the chilly-and-wet pattern has already rewritten parts of the record book.

“It goes all the way back to April, what we would normally think about as the start of the growing season,” Spoden said. “April was very, very cool — I know in some places in the state, it was the coolest April ever.”
In a northern climate like Minnesota, the short growing season is always an issue.

It is just weather this year, but if this continues we should be concerned. Stay tuned.

George asked the question about declining temperatures in MN. Here is a quick look at Morris, which is in the middle of the corn growing belt:

Morris MN AirportBlue is minimum temperature in May, the green is the average temperature in May from 1992 to 2013.  According to NOAA this is the 3rd coldest Spring out of 119 in Minnesota.

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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4 Responses to Short Growing Season in Minnesota (Updated Jun 14th 2013)

  1. gjrebane says:

    If you took the temp records of the last, say, sixteen years in Minnesota, I wonder in what part of the distribution this year’s temp data will fall. In other words, probabilistically is this coolness closer to the ‘new normal’?

    • Russ Steele says:

      George,

      I took a look at Morris, which is in the middle of the corn growing belt. From 1992 to 2013 May averages and minimun temps have been in slight decline since about 2005. I am posting the image as an update. Green is and Average Temperature and the blue is minimum temperature. According to NOAA this is the 3rd coldest Spring out of 119 in Minnesota.

      • Russ Steele says:

        At this time last year the corn in southern Minnesota was 55 inches tall. This year, puny seedlings poke from some area fields, while others lay bare as if waiting for farmers to plant.

        “Fields that have been planted in the area are struggling with the cool weather and we are well behind normal even for corn that was planted early,” said Tom Hoverstad, a scientist at the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca.

  2. David says:

    I think I will buy another 6 month
    s of food.

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