Farmers say more soil moisture needed before spring planting

Midwest farmers say the mild winter might allow for earlier spring planting, but additional soil moisture is needed for a good start this spring.

Josh Manske, a farmer in northern Iowa, says soil conditions are drier than usual as spring fertilizer is being applied at his farm. But he’s trying to stay optimistic ahead of planting.

“They always say, when you plant in dust, bins will bust. Let’s hope that’s the case. It would be nice.”

Dan Glessing, a farmer in southern Minnesota, says the lack of snow and moisture over the winter is unusual.

“In our area, we’re sitting ok, but we’re a little concerned about other parts of the state that didn’t get rain around Christmas. Quite honestly, we haven’t had much snow. We only had to plow snow once this winter and at some point, thing will change.”

There are some dry areas getting rain. In northeast Missouri, Drew Lock says recent rains have slowed some fieldwork.

“I’m still hoping to be on a regular planting schedule, but I don’t think we’ll be super early now that there’s moisture.”

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor says about 72% of the Midwest is experiencing dry conditions, an increase compared to this time last year when only 16% of the Midwest was dry.

The map also says 99% of Minnesota and Iowa are dry with portions of both states in severe to exceptional drought. In Missouri, 96% of the state is dry with severe drought present in the southeast.

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