By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For much of the fall, farmers were humming along. But winter weather in October has left combines quiet and corn in limbo.

“Seven and a half inches of snow. We’ve never had that in October before,” said Tom Hoverstad.

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Hoverstad is a crop scientist for University of Minnesota Extension. In 40 years of work, he doesn’t remember a fall quite like this, where farmers are waiting for snow to thaw off and fall off the stalks.

“Because that seven and a half inches of snow contains over an inch of liquid water, it’s going to be muddy. It’s going to be muddy,” Hoverstad said.

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The good news is before the October snow fell, most farmers were ahead of schedule. And the forecast may allow them to get back in the field before long.

Dry, warmer temperatures with sun should help melt away concerns. Hoverstad says the early planting season carried through an ideal growing season. With prices now looking up, a banner year for some corn growers isn’t out of the question.

“October 2009, was miserable. We didn’t have this much snow. Probably three inches of snow, but a lot more rain and it was very cold,” Hoverstad said. “November that year was warmer and drier than normal and that’s what I’m hoping for. As soon as fields are fit and the snow is off the stocks, they can go get that corn.”

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Hoverstad thinks that if the forecast holds true most farmers will be back in the field in a few days.

John Lauritsen