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Farmers Have Soggy Fields With More Rain In Forecast

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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NICOLLET COUNTY, Minn. (WCCO) — With more rain in the forecast this week, Minnesota farmers are fighting a continuing battle to grow their crops and people are once again keeping a watchful eye on some swelling rivers.

More rain is the last thing farmers need with their soil already saturated by recent rains. Some areas in Nicollet County received about 4-and-a-half inches of rain just over the weekend.

In the Nicollet County farm fields are stunted corn and soybeans. Late planting from a cool, wet spring is turning into a saturated summer.

“It’s been mud all spring,” said Christian Lilienthal, a county extension agent.

He said the area’s heavy clay soil is great during dry years but a real challenge when it’s this wet. Crops are already weeks behind schedule.

“For right now, no, corn is pretty set for water. Especially since they’re asking for some hail, some more severe weather these next couple of days too, that could really push us back even further,” said Lilienthal.

All along the Minnesota and Cottonwood rivers, it’s like spring flooding all over again. Thousands of acres are inaccessible. But it’s farmers who face the greatest challenge.

“We’ve lost already some of the top end of this stuff,” said farmer Randy Dorn.

Dorn farms 750 acres of corn and beans. He’d like to be in his field spraying weeds but his equipment would sink. Dorn is lucky he was able to get his crops planted because others weren’t as lucky.

“It just was a late spring. It stayed cold and wet, and guys couldn’t get in and get it done early enough,” said Dorn. “When they finally did get it in, we had some cooler temperatures that just didn’t let it come up as fast as everybody would like to see it.”

For the month, the average rainfall is about 3 inches and many places in southwestern and central Minnesota have gotten three to four times that amount.

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