Cold, Sloppy Spring Delays Planting Season For Weeks

WAVERLY, Minn. (WCCO) — While we all complain about the weather, farmers need cooperation from Mother Nature to make their money, and the cool spring has pushed back planting of this year’s sweet corn.

Some experts claim that will mean a smaller crop and corn that’s more vulnerable to damage from summer heat.

“You’ve got to be an optimist to be in this business,” said Jerry Untiedt, owner of Untiedt’s Vegetable Farm.

Untiedt has farmed Minnesota for more than 40 years, and he said this year has been challenging — it’s the latest his farm has ever planted sweet corn.

“April 24 was our previous late date,” Untiedt said. “We don’t plant until ice is off the
lakes. That didn’t happen here until Monday, April 29.”

He’s trying to get as much as he can now, before another wintery mix hits.

“I’d like to go plant to midnight or one in the morning,” Untiedt said. “The good thing is farmers can do so much more, so much more rapidly, than in prior decades.”

Tractors are now equipped with new technology, including GPS.

“It keeps the rows extremely straight,” Untiedt said. “If I want to drop one seed every 9 inches I can do that, I have a monitor in the tractor that tells me when I’m not planting correctly.”

Untiedt’s also sells 50 different kinds of vegetables, everything from tomatoes to summer squash, and all of it is a week or more behind.

The company also had to push back when it opens its road stands — those are delayed almost three weeks.

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