Dry soil conditons a concern as planting season begins


Sugar beet planting is in full force in the region. As of Monday, Western Sugar Cooperative reports that 40 percent of the crop has been planted, which is on track with a normal year. Area Ag Manager Jerry Darnell told KNEB Farm Director Leslie Smith his biggest concern are the soil conditions.

Darnell says the recent snow helped conditions, but more moisture will be needed to get the sugar beet seed to germinate and get the crop off to a good start.

Dry soil conditions are a statewide concern. In the weekly crop progress report only about 46 percent of the state's topsoil and 39 percent of its subsoil has adequate or surplus moisture.

Darnell says some farmers are improving soil moisture levels through center pivot irrigation. This will aid the crop sugar beet seed to germinate and get the crop off to a good start. Meanwhile, surface irrigators are hoping mother nature delivers some much needed moisture very soon.

Despite 70 - 80 degree temperatures, Day Weather meterorlogist Don Day says colder air up in south central Canada brings a good possibility the region could receive snow into early May. That leaves open the possibly that western Nebraska and east Wyoming could still get a hard freeze before the season is done.

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