Minnesota farmers played catch-up last week, taking advantage of dry weather and warmer temperatures to plant nearly half of the corn crop and 43 percent of the soybean acreage in a mere seven days.

The latest federal report on crop progress in the state estimated that 84 percent of the corn crop has now been planted, compared with only 35 percent a week ago. Soybean planting jumped from 4 percent to 47 percent during the week that ended May 14.

Growers had been held back by several days of cold, snow and rain in late April and early May, but most planting rates have now bounced back to be ahead of five-year averages for this time of year.

The window for farmers to plant seeds is only a few weeks, depending on the crop and how long it takes to mature. Planting too early can mean problems if soil is not warm enough for seeds to germinate properly. Planting late can risk damage from early autumn frost before crops have had time to mature.

The report indicates that Minnesota's spring wheat planting was 93 percent complete, and potato and sugar beet planting advanced to 72 and 99 percent complete, respectively.

Seeds in the ground have adequate moisture throughout the state, the report said. Topsoil moisture supplies were rated as 86 percent adequate, and subsoil moisture was ranked as 88 percent adequate.

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388