Ag educator: ‘Stay the course’

hursday storms dumped up to 2 inches of rain in and around New Ulm, while tornadoes danced near St. James earlier in the day and near Gaylord early in the evening, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

“It rained so hard, I saw vehicles pulling onto the side of the road near Winthrop,” said Nicollet County Agriculture Extension Educator Christian Lillienthal. “But I saw fields accommodating the rain pretty well. The lack of subsoil moisture took in a lot of what came down.”

Lillienthal said the western side of Nicollet County got more rain, making it a little slower going for farmers getting back into the field. “That’s unusual. We usually see less moisture in western Nicollet County.”

Areas west of Sleepy Eye, including the Redwood Falls, Springfield and Windom areas, reported less than an inch of rain Thursday, according to the NWS.

Lillienthal recommended crop producers not adjust to earlier-maturing seeds or a shorter growing season yet. “By the time things germinate, we should be in good condition, as long as we can get back into the field in a few days.”

Sleepy Eye weather observer Brad Sellner said he measured 1.48 inches of rain Thursday. He said the recent spring rain is what’s needed for soil conditions.

“I don’t see water standing in fields like you might see other years if we got this much rain,” Sellner added. “These rains are just starting to recharge the dry ground.”

He predicted more cool and wet weather in the near term. “With all the cold air around, I think we’ll get a good share of some pretty good storms as we slowly warm up,” Sellner added. “The cold air around here clashes with warmer air that comes up from the south, putting us right in the battle zone for rain.”

The NWS Climate Prediction Center forecast normal temperatures and rainfall for the Upper Midwest June through September, with above average temperatures forecast October through March 2015.

“I’m hearing about a strong El Nino developing later this year which could mean warmer, dryer weather around here from December through April,” said Sellner.

For more information, visit www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/multi_season.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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