There are few things that frustrate farmers more than not getting crops planted in the spring. It’s hard for any farmer or gardener to complain about too much rain but there needs to be a dry spell in order to get crops planted and time is awaiting. A drive to the Twin Cities this past week and another to Marshall over the weekend showed no field work happening along either route. None.
Oh sure, there is some evidence of tillage and planting but there are huge areas where it is far too wet to do any field work and there are many areas of standing water. Compounding this problem is the rather sleepy market response to the late start of spring planting that is all over the Midwest corn and soybean areas.
Even with the late start and the resulting potential of smaller than normal yields, there doesn’t seem to be much of an upward bump in crop prices, yet. The cool, wet spring and soft prices, along with a very unnecessary embargo by the US government on the sale of soybeans to China, could have some very grim consequences for farmers and rural communities. These are issues that can be easily addressed with some clear weather here and some clear thinking in Washington, DC.
While the wet spring doesn’t affect the livelihood of most gardeners, it still frustrating to not be able to till and plant the muddy mess that is normally my garden. This has to be the latest I’ve had to put off planting in my 45 years of gardening.
Even though the garden, like many farm fields, will have to wait, the sunny part of the weekend was a good time to decorate graves at some of the area cemeteries for Memorial Day, and then get some flowers planted in pots and baskets at home before the rain rolled in again.
Attending the Memorial Day program is always worthwhile and a good time to reflect on the many folks who have gone before us, particularly those veterans from so many of our families. It’s enjoyable being outside for those events, but the wet weather this year, which isn’t all that unusual on Memorial Day, moved most area programs indoors.
The rain didn’t keep folks away and there were nice crowds on hand for the annual programs. One bonus to the rainy and cool weather this spring is that we have a rare occasion of having lilacs still blooming on Memorial Day.
This spring’s regular recurring rainfall has resulted in one of the longest high-water events in anyone’s memory. I started posting on-line updates and sending out emails about the river elevation on March 22nd, when the river first crept up onto Lende Lane, beneath the footbridge in Granite. Nine weeks later we still have water there. We’ll keep posting and sending out those updates as long as thew water is high and until it looks like the river will finally recede and stay in its banks.
Even a professional river watcher like Area Hydrologist Lucas Youngsma from the DNR’s Marshall office is wondering just how long this high water will continue. He talked about the characteristics of the Minnesota River basin and the changing weather patterns that affect our area rivers when he spoke recently at the Friends for Upper Sioux Agency State Park annual meeting.
He pointed out that there are well over a hundred years of recorded weather and climate data for our area but that’s just a drop in the bucket (no pun intended) of all the weather possibilities. There are sketchy accounts, and even a small bit of evidence of a huge 25 to 30-inch rainfall occurring in our area in the early 1830’s and there could be many other extreme weather conditions possible here, too. We know about much higher floods in 1997, 2001, 1969, 1952, 1919 and even 1881 but it’s doubtful any of those lasted as long as this spring’s flood. Who really knows what’s possible weather-wise? I guess we are finding out.
Congratulations to this year’s Yellow Medicine East graduating seniors. We wish them all the best as they graduate this weekend and step out into the world to pursue their future. We need them to succeed in every way possible. We’d also love to have them look at pursuing a career in our area and becoming a part of the future here. There will be many ups and downs along the way, but they will have the world at their fingertips and will help to shape the future. The entire community is proud of them and eager to help them find their way.