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Much needed rain help area crop farmers but COVID-19 pandemic poses problem

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Very dry conditions made it easier for farmers to get their crops planted, but a lack of rain earlier this spring had many concerned.

The delay in rain left some farmers needing to replant, but for many others the rain came just in time. Unfortunately mother nature and the COVID-19 pandemic may pose a threat later on down the road.

"Everyone that I work with said this is the driest year they've ever seen for the spring," said Jarret Hayes, Sales Agronomist and Applicator at Nerstrand Agri Center in Nerstrand.

Compared to most years, both corn and soybeans were planted very quickly this year.

"Everything went really well for planting season," Hayes said. "It was dry in a lot of areas, but the guys who got their seed down into moisture, they didn't have any issues."

Our recent wet stretch of weather came just in time for many farmers,

"In Nerstrand, Minnesota, we had like three inches of rain that first shot in a very short amount of time," Hayes said. "And we were amazed at how fast the ground sucked that water up. Normally, if we have three inches of rain, we're out for two days probably. We were in the fields the next afternoon."

The much needed rain allowed both the crops and weeds to grow.

Now the next task on the list is to start spraying, but the COVID-19 pandemic may pose a problem.

"Chemicals were not being manufactured as much because of the COVID-19," Hayes said. "So fungicides are really hard to get right now. And we don't spray those until middle of July, but we can't find them right now. Round Up, so glyphosate, that's been really tough to get a hold of and the stuff we have gotten a hold of is not normally the brands we typically spray. We're just trying to find anything and everything."

And if those products aren't available, an older type of product may work. But farmers will end up having to pay more per acre.

"And this older stuff that they would be paying more money for is not the greatest either," Hayes said. "So it might not work in areas and it might not work as effectively, which could cause more issues in the future."

Hayes says crops look to be on track for having a good season, but there are still several variables at play, so only time will tell. One of those variables is Friday night's frost potential. It has some farmers worried about damage or loss of crops.

Sarah Gannon

Sarah Gannon

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