Crop development lags due to cool weather, late planting

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By Reed Anfinson
Swift County Monitor-News

As of July 31, the USDA’s Swan Lake Research Farm near Morris had recorded 890 growing degree days (GDDs) with a starting date of May 1. The average for the end of July is 1,467.5, which is 48.5 more than we’ve seen.

However, many of the crops in the area did not get planted until two to three weeks after May 1. Since May 15, only 1,279 growing degree days have accumulated, 188 fewer than the May 1 to July 31 average.

Growing degree days are a measure of heat accumulation during a growing season and an indicator of crop progress. Warm days speed growth along while cool temperatures can cause development to slow down. Those cool temperatures can have an impact on yield. When growing degrees days are behind average, farmers generally look for a late frost to allow their crops to reach full maturity....

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