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The corn crop in Hubbard County is looking good although it is behind schedule by a few weeks. The biggest worry in this area is frost because the corn will need at least three more weeks to fully mature. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Corn crop looking 'above average' in final weeks before fall harvest

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The fall corn harvest is approaching slightly behind schedule after a cooler-than-normal summer.

"The corn is behind schedule right now, at least two weeks behind," said Russ Johnsrud, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "But it's a very nice looking crop out there, both dry land and irrigated."

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The corn is looking "above average" in Hubbard, eastern Becker and northern Wadena counties, he said.

The biggest worry at this point is frost. The corn needs three or four more weeks to fully mature, Johnsrud said.

"If we have a frost, it could be a disaster," he said.

Hubbard County, along with much of the state, is presently in a drought, according to the State Climatology Office at the University of Minnesota. With a few exceptions, the 2009 growing season precipitation has been well short of historical averages nearly everywhere in Minnesota, according to the climatology office's drought monitor released last week.

Precipitation totals have been roughly 50 percent to 75 percent of normal since April 1, falling short of average by four to seven inches, according to the drought monitor.

In the Park Rapids area, the crop is still green and growing. Although much of the state is in a drought, the moisture has been enough for crops here, Johnsrud said. Normally, corn is burned up by this time of year, he said.

"We've had just enough moisture to keep it going this year," he said.

About a week and a half ago, there was a light frost in a few areas. The ground temperature was higher so it stayed off the ground, Johnsrud said.

The dry edible beans are also looking good this year, Johnsrud said. Harvesting should start this week for the beans and potatoes.

Temperatures were higher over Labor Day weekend and no frost is forecast in the near future. Through the rest of the week, overnight lows should be in the 50s, according to the National Weather Service.

"All we can do is keep our fingers crossed and we'll be OK," Johnsrud said.

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