Drought conditions across Southeast Minnesota may improve

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(ABC 6 News) – Southeast Minnesota has had only five days of rain in June, but this weekend is bringing much-needed rainfall to the area.

The end of the long winter turned into a dry spring and when it comes to farming, it has created uneven growth in crops for farmers across the region.

Scott Ruegg has been farming just outside of Pine Island for 45 years. This isn’t the driest start to summer he’s ever seen but the drought isn’t helping what has already been planted.

“The rainfall that we’ve gotten here recently has been real spotty,” said Ruegg. “Anywhere within three miles it can be two inches to hardly anything. So it’s really been, certain areas have been affected more so.”

Last Sunday Ruegg was fortunate to get an inch of rain on his farm. His neighbors had anywhere from a quarter of an inch of rainfall to two. This is creating widespread wet spots in the fields that is having crops grow at an inconsistent pace.

“The wet spots had poor germination or didn’t come through the crusted soil or ended up getting a little too dry and didn’t germinate evenly and so you have a lot of uneven corn out there and uneven soybeans,” Ruegg said.

With heavy rainfall finally coming around this weekend, it will bolster the growth of crops that are in desperate need of it. But a big down poor would cause more runoffs in the fields and prevent the rain from settling in.

If the rain can come instead, it will prevent farms from summer like the one in 1988, where everything was dried up by August. And compared to other parts of the country where drought conditions are drier, Ruegg says it could be worse.

“We’re pretty fortunate. If it stays this way through July, everybody’s going to be hurting,” said Ruegg.