CROPS BENEFIT FROM RAIN AS PRECIPITATION RISES TO NEAR NORMAL LEVELS

Most homeowners and farmers were likely glad to see this week’s rain, especially the slow soak on Tuesday.  In total Crookston and the surrounding area received between 2-4 inches of rain. 

Gregory Gust from the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said this week’s rainfall after the wet winter has returned the area to near normal precipitation levels after two to three years of being overly dry.  “Depending on where you are around the area the last two, three years you may have had a lot of snow, but then there was a whole lot of dry around you,” said Gust.  “A lot of our area here in Northwest Minnesota has not gotten enough rain to bring it up near normal.  Further south, Fargo/Moorhead and south, they have much too much. I would expect that some of the small grain crops, wheat, and barley. They are maybe a little to wet with a little too much wind and might be laying down but will probably start standing up here a bit unless they have broken stems.  As far as the corn and beans, this is exactly what they want now.  Looking around the area in the prior month or so, things were going along okay.  They weren’t maybe as lush or thick as you’d like to see, but they were still looking fairly healthy.  Hopefully, it came at the right time to do good.”

Shawn Coauette at Crookston Valley Cooperative said a few fields are laying down, but they should pop back up, and that Tuesday’s slow rain was beneficial for all area crops.  “Overall, it’s a very positive,” said Coauette.  “The area needed some rain.  It’s going to be beneficial to all of our crops.  I think it will help finish off and make our wheat crop.  The soybeans, beets, and corn were all looking for rain at this point.  Except for a few areas where they maybe had just a little more then they needed it was a very good rain overall.” 

Gust explained dry ground can soak up moisture, limiting runoff, during a steady rain like was experienced this week unlike frozen ground earlier in the year, during a sustained heavy rainfall. “When you look at that volume of water, the ground is thawed out, and the plants are growing, so not much of that is going to run off and get into the rivers,” said Gust.  “It’s getting into the ditches; it’s going to make its way there.  That same amount on the frozen ground would’ve gotten to the river in a few days.  This rainfall is mostly soaking in.  There is still a fair amount of runoff, but not near as much.  Now if we start getting two, three, four inches every few days we’re going to have a whole different situation.”

Gust also taught Crookston youth Tuesday about storms as part of the Summer Library Experience.  Students learned about how the rotational axis of the earth creates the seasons, high and low pressure, tornadoes, and how to be safe during severe weather that may pop up later this summer.