Rain Critically Needed for Local Corn Crop
Despite a late start to spring and a drought that covers the whole state, local corn stands say the crop is in good shape.
But that could all change.
According to agricultural experts, the corn crop is in a critical phase and rain is desperately needed. The drought could eventually impact sweet corn stands like Fresh Pickin’s in Brooklyn Park.
Morgan Hawley has worked at Fresh Pickin’s for the past eight years.
“There’s definitely a difference between corn fresh off the field versus getting something that’s been sitting at the grocery store for a couple of days,” said Hawley.
On Thursday, customers lined up for a taste of the first harvest of the season at the fresh produce stand at the border of Champlin and Brooklyn Park.
“The corn’s going very fast, so we sold out already today and it’s now 1:40 and then we will bring more crops and then we will sell out again probably before four,” said Hawley.
For those who can’t get enough corn, experts have some good news.
“Sixty percent of the corn is in good to excellent condition, so that kind of means that more than half the crop in the state of Minnesota is not impacted by disease pressure, by weeds, by anything like that,” said Nate Gotlieb from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.
Although the corn crop is on track right now, experts say the next few weeks will be a make or break time for the overall harvest.
“We’re going to need some moisture coming up here or it could affect the crop,” said Gotlieb.
Gotlieb says the snowfall this winter and rain in the spring helped provide moisture for the fields. But without the needed rainfall, things could change.
“A lot of the crop is going to start tasseling now within the week, within two weeks, and we really need it during that stretch and so we’re going to really need some moisture now,” said Gotlieb.
The farmer who grows the corn Hawley sells uses irrigation.
So whatever happens with the weather, she feels confident she’ll be able to continue selling corn to the fans that come near and far.
“I know that there’s people who put it in their coolers and will try to drive it all the way back to the East Coast,” said Hawley.
Fresh Pickin’s hopes to be open until Labor Day.
Minnesota is the fourth largest producer of corn, behind Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska.