By John Lauritsen

LE CENTER, Minn. (WCCO) — With a cold spring and recent storms, a lot of Minnesota farmers are expecting to lose out on this year’s corn crop.

Corn in Minnesota is only about 10 inches high on average. It’s usually more than double that by now.

And it was three times that tall last June.

With his son at his side, it’s not unusual to find Andy Oak walking and surveying his 1,800 acres of farmland near Le Center.

For 40 years, the Oaks have grown corn and soybeans here. But this is a year of firsts.

“For the first time in our farming career, we are not going to have some acres that will be planted,” Oak said.

And for the first time, he’s seeing some of his corn ankle high when it should be a foot taller. Plenty of cold and little sun meant a late start for the Oaks. In some cases, really late.

Corn on one side of the road was planted on May 12, already a little bit behind schedule. But just across the road it’s even further behind. Corn there didn’t get planted until the first week of June and there’s no guarantee it will make it.

And it’s even worse in parts of southeastern Minnesota. Last year’s dry conditions had farmers hoping for rain. Now, rain is the last thing they need.

“The yield potential just isn’t there. You don’t have a long enough growing season,” Oak said.

Corn won’t be knee high by the Fourth of July, but warm, dry conditions could get some farmers back on track. More storms, however, would hurt, and a smaller crop could ultimately mean higher prices at the grocery store.

“Right now, I would expect to have less than normal yield, which means less revenue per acre to work with,” Oak said.

Some sweet corn farmers said they got a late start, too.

Instead of having their corn ready by late July, it won’t be ready until mid-August.

Prices won’t change for most sweet corn, you’ll just have to wait a little longer than normal.


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