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Crops look good, but excess rain a challenge

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Crops look good, but excess rain a challenge
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With plenty of rain, Minnesota has escaped the drought conditions scourging the southern states -- but can there be too much of a good thing?

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Doug Holen of the University of Minnesota Extension said that while he couldn't speak to Wadena County specifically, he knows the general area of west central Minnesota - and rain in this area has been too much and too often.

"Especially if you're trying to make hay - these livestock producers trying to chop or bale hay - it's been very problematic for this year," he said.

Holen said the rain and heat have been good for the row crops - corn and soybeans - except in areas where the soil is too saturated.

He said that the Wadena area has light soils, however, which make it good to grow those types of crops.

Holen said that the wheat harvest is finishing up and is getting into full swing farther north, but wheat yields aren't as good as hoped because the crops matured too quickly after a summer marked by heat and humidity.

Soybean aphids are less of a problem because of a combination of stronger, more mature plants and decline in aphid population.

"Those cornfields that were able to escape the high winds look to be pretty good," Holen said.

Scott Rowe at the National Weather Service in Grand Forks said that the Fargo area has received much higher than normal precipitation, but Wadena County is relatively normal with the High Plains Regional Climate Center pegging the northern half of the county as average to below average precipitation and the southern half as slightly above average precipitation.

"It looks like there's a bullseye of around 70 to 90 percent of normal that straddles just on the northern border of Wadena County, but then the southern part of the county looks like it's had right around 100 percent of normal," he said.

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