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What is a normal Spring?

By Jerrold Tesmer

Fri, Apr 5th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

By Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston Counties

I think we can all agree last spring, 2012, was not a normal spring. So just what is normal for us? One source of information, from the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics, lists Median Frost Dates: Based on Averages from 1948-2005. Another bit of information is the Average Completion Dates for Planting, 2007-2011, for various crops.

The chart below shows the Median Frost dates based on the average date of the last temperature occurrence:

24 degrees F 28 degrees F 32 degrees F

Houston County/Caledonia Apr 13 Apr 23 May 05

Fillmore County/Preston Apr 20 May 05 May 16

I like these because they are very local, and I’m also surprised at the difference between Preston and Caledonia.

Or we can look at the date a certain percentage of planting is completed as shown in the chart below:

Date Planting Completed 2007-2011 in Minnesota: Percent

10% 25% 50% 75% 90%

Corn Apr 22 Apr 26 May 06 May 16 May 22

SoybeansMay 05 May 12 May 19 May 26 Jun 03

Oats Apr 13 Apr 22 May 03 May 11 May 21

Being on the very southern edge of Minnesota, we normally would have a higher percentage planted on the corresponding date than is shown in the Minnesota average.

There are many other reports and data available from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). For those with Internet access you can choose from USDA, NASS:; Minnesota Federal Field Office:; or State of Minnesota Department of Agriculture: NASS also operates an information center, staffed 7:00 am to 4:30 pm Eastern Time, to assist you with accessing reports and data via the Internet or printed copies. Call 1-800-727-9540.

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