MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Late, last summer Minnesota farmers were facing uncertainties. But a number of factors helped change that and turned it into a near-record year for crop yields.
“In combination with government payments, commodity prices and worldwide trade, I think things were affirmative and look good for farmers coming into 2021,” said Dave Nicolai, University of Minnesota Extension.
U of M Extension reported a positive net income for Minnesota farms for the first time since 2014, something they hope carries over to this year.
Snow in southern Minnesota has been gone since March and frost has been gone since early April, which means some farmers have already gotten into their fields.
“Those farmers have been tilling and planting, some of them. Not at a high pace, but putting in about a field a day,” said agronomist Dave Pfarr.
Pfarr, who also farms near Le Sueur, said they’re doing that a couple of weeks earlier than normal.
He said certain crop prices are near 10-year highs encouraging corn and soybean planters to take advantage, while demand from other countries, like China, continues to grow.
“Instead of importing a sliver of corn, or a boat or two, like they have in other years, they are importing 10 times that amount,” said Pfarr.
Good commodity prices and good spring weather are welcome news for livestock producers as well — they rely on crops like alfalfa for feed.
“With these warm temperatures, livestock producers are looking forward to our alfalfa growth which also started very early. Earlier than it normally has,” said Nicolai.
Pfarr said there is one potential problem: a windstorm in Iowa has impacted seed supply across the Midwest. He believes they’ll be able to work through it, but the supply is tight.