December 16, 2020
The pandemic curtailed lots of activity for farmers in 2020, but it couldn’t touch Mother Nature.
Overall, Minnesota crop farmers had a solid growing season. Here is a crop year review provided by the Minnesota Field Office, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Small grain planting in 2020 started out well behind the five-year average pace due to cold weather and spring snowstorms. However, the row crop planting pace was well ahead of normal, with more than 40% of the corn acres planted by the end of April. Row crop emergence followed the same trend as planting. Small-grain emergence got off to a slow start but caught up to normal.
The weeks ending June 7 and July 26 saw the best pasture and range conditions of the season, with 71% rated in good to excellent condition. Topsoil moisture started drying out in late spring, and by the end of September it rated 15% short to very short. In general, moisture supplies were mostly adequate throughout the season.
Small-grain harvest began with oats starting in mid-July, far ahead of last year and nearly a week ahead of the five-year average. Dry conditions allowed for great harvest progress through August, and all small grains were harvested by mid-September, with spring wheat wrapping up last. Soybean harvest began in mid-September, with corn for grain harvest not far behind. Ideal weather conditions throughout September and October allowed farmers the opportunity to quickly harvest their row crops, with an average of 5.3 days per week suitable for fieldwork during those months.
Harvest for most Minnesota crops started early and stayed ahead of the average pace. Virtually all spring-planted crops were harvested by Nov. 22.
Corn. Corn planting started in mid-April 2020, ahead of the previous year’s pace. Planting progress rapidly advanced to nine days ahead of the five-year average, with 40% planted by April 26. Progress remained well ahead of last year and the average, until virtually complete on May 31. Crop emergence also stayed ahead and reached 99% by June 14. Warm, dry conditions boosted early maturity, with 23% of the crop mature by Sept. 6. Conditions also allowed an early start of corn for grain harvest, 17 days ahead of 2019 and five days ahead of average. Harvest was 99% complete on Nov. 22. Condition remained relatively steady throughout the season with between 76% and 85% rated good to excellent.
Soybean. Soybean planting began in mid-April, well ahead of 2019 and four days ahead of the five-year average. Planting was 95% complete by the end of May, 10 days ahead of average. Warm, dry weather boosted crop development throughout the season. Nearly all plants were setting pods by mid-August. Soybean harvest started in mid-September. By Oct. 25, farmers had harvested 98% of their soybean acreage, nearly four weeks ahead of 2018 and 18 days ahead of normal. The final crop condition rating of the year was 79% good to excellent for the week ending Oct. 4.
Spring wheat. Spring wheat seeding began in late April, one week ahead of 2019 but just over two weeks behind the five-year average. Planting progress continued ahead of last year but did not surpass normal. Planting was nearly complete by the end of May. Emergence started slowly and remained behind average for almost the entire stage. Nearly all acreage was heading or beyond by July 19. Harvest began near the end of July and was virtually complete on Sept. 20, well ahead of last year and a few days ahead of average. Spring wheat condition ended the season at 77% good to excellent for the week ending Aug. 23.
Oat. Oat seeding began in early to mid-April, initially at a pace behind average but then moving ahead of normal by the end of April. Emergence advanced quickly and remained ahead of normal through June 7, when the crop was almost fully emerged. Harvest for grain began in mid-July, well ahead of 2019 and slightly ahead of average. By Sept. 6, harvest was 97% complete. Oat condition ended at 67% good to excellent for the week ending Aug. 9.
Alfalfa. The first cutting of alfalfa hay started in mid–May, ahead of average, and growers had 96% harvested by June 28, almost two weeks ahead of 2019. The second cutting of alfalfa hay was underway by June 21. Although second-cutting progress moved ahead of normal by July 5, it fell behind by July 26 and remained behind until the cutting was complete. The first hay condition rating of the year was 71% good to excellent on May 17. Warm, dry weather stunted regrowth for much of the season. The final all-hay condition rated 60% good to excellent for the week ending July 19.
Barley. Barley seeding began in mid-April, ahead of a year ago, but behind the five-year average. Planting progress continued ahead of last year but never moved ahead of normal, and was nearly completed by the end of May at 97%. Warm, dry conditions boosted development beyond normal in early July, and the stage neared completion at 97% headed on July 11, three days ahead of normal. Harvest got underway near the end of July and was 95% complete on Aug. 30, six days earlier than the previous year. Dry conditions generally reduced barley ratings through the season, ending at 74% good to excellent for the week ending Aug. 23.
Dry edible beans. Dry edible bean planting got underway in late April, but fell behind until early June. By June 14, planting was 98% complete, still a week ahead of 2019 and three days ahead of normal. Emergence began slightly behind average and then quickly jumped well ahead. Warm, dry weather helped as emergence reached 98% by June 21. Almost all of the dry edible bean crop was blooming by early August, and plants setting pods began less than a week into July. Harvest began slightly behind normal in early September, but ahead of last year. Harvest was 97% complete on Oct. 11. Final crop condition on Sept. 20 was 80% good to excellent.
Sugarbeet. Sugarbeet planting started in mid-April, ahead of 2019, but behind the five-year average. More than one-quarter of the crop was planted during the week ending April 26. Planting progress remained behind average for the remainder of planting. Harvest got underway in mid-August, comparable to the average start. Harvest progress moved ahead of normal in late August, and stayed well ahead of normal through completion. Harvest was 98% complete on Oct. 18, just over three weeks ahead of normal. Sugarbeet condition was high throughout the season, ending with 93% good to excellent as of Oct. 4.
Sunflower. Sunflower planting started in early May, a little ahead of 2019 but behind the average. Planting was 95% complete June 7, three days ahead of average. Sunflower harvest got underway the week ending Sept. 20, well ahead of 2019, but at near-normal. Harvest was nearly complete with 97% done by Nov. 1, four weeks ahead of average. Ending conditions were 77% good to excellent as of Oct. 11.
Source: USDA NASS Minnesota Field Office, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all of its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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