Snow totals much higher than last year, relief for local farmers

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(ABC 6 News) – Southeast Minnesota has seen double last year’s moisture total so far this year. Depending on how this latest winter storm plays out, the area could see double last year’s snowfall total as well.

For farmers, this means a chance to catch up on some much-needed precipitation and start the planting season off right.

Corn and soybeans — the two most common crops in Southeast Minnesota — need a lot of moisture to thrive. Luckily for farmers, for the first time in years, they are getting the moisture they need.

“This is viewed by many farmers as a welcome relief,” said Nick Schiltz, an agriculture instructor at Riverland Community College.

“The snow we have received has been able to penetrate and get into the soil and replenish our moisture in our sub-soil that we’ve been lacking,” added Matthew Kimm, a sales agronomist at Ag Partners.

Farmers say winters like this, where its snowy and not too cold, means a good spring for planting. The moisture has been able to seep into the ground, instead of sliding off the surface of the soil.

According to Schiltz, soil freezes at about 32 degrees. Come April, the soil will need to warm up to 55 degrees to plant.

“If we have more of a gradual warm up in the spring, in the late winter months, that snow has a decent chance of infiltrating into the soil,” Schiltz explained.