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Apr 18, 5:04 PM EDT

Dry weather lets Minnesota farmers begin planting in earnest


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Warm and dry conditions in the past week have allowed Minnesota farmers to begin planting in earnest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday in its weekly crop progress report for Minnesota that 54 percent of the state's sugarbeet acreage got planted last week, the largest percentage by this date on record.

It helped that 5.1 days were suitable for fieldwork last week.

Thirteen percent of Minnesota's expected corn acreage has been planted. That's eight days ahead of the five-year average and three days ahead of last year.

Minnesota farmers also made significant progress in planting small grains. Forty-six percent of the oat acreage, 23 percent of the spring wheat acreage and 14 percent of the barley acreage has been planted.

And Minnesota's potato acres are 11 percent planted.

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