UNDATED (WJON News) - As area farmers turn the calendar to May, many wonder when they’ll be able to get into the field.

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Jeff Strock is a professor at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, Minnesota.

Things are highly variable. In certain parts of the state, I've seen tractors in the field up in the sandier soils. I would say that, on average, were probably a bit further behind just because of the nature of the availability of variability of the soil moisture.

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says there were no suitable days for fieldwork in April throughout Minnesota.

Photo: University of Minnesota Extension.
Photo: University of Minnesota Extension.

As the spring continues, Strock says farmers may try to push planting into soils that are too wet, causing compaction and soil contact issues. He teaches his soil science students a simple way to determine if the soil is ready for planting.

Take a shovel, dig up some soil, put it in your hand, and try to make a ball out of it. And if that ball stays together, and (when) you squeeze a little bit of water comes out, it's too wet. If you try to make that ball and you can't make the ball, it's really dry. People think about that sweet spot where you make a ball of soil, it'll stick together, you can kind of bounce it a little bit in your hand, and it stays pretty well together.

The final planting date for corn to be eligible for crop insurance is May 25th for most counties in Minnesota. The planting deadline for soybeans is June 10th.

To read the latest reports from the USDA, click here.

Behind the Mic:

Listen to the complete interview with Jeff Shrock here. 



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