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Published April 24, 2010, 07:09 PM

Spring Planting Ahead Of Schedule In Grand Forks Area

Spring is here, and that means farmers are getting ready to plant. But planting this year is much different than it was last year.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

Spring is here, and that means farmers are getting ready to plant. But planting this year is much different than it was last year.

This spring has been much warmer than last year, and it's been much drier.

Farmers say this year was much closer to a "normal" year. Farmers were out in the fields today, and they say planting is going very smoothly. They say they're already a month ahead of where they were last year at this time, as the cool, wet weather delayed last year's planting.

"This year we're going to be done planting wheat before we got started last year," said Alan Bekkerus, who was out planting near Grand Forks today.

"Last year we were all around the shop trying to find things to do because we're about a month earlier than last year," said sugar beet farmer Robert Drees.

Drees wasn't able to get out into the fields until May 20 last year. This year he may also have some time to relax - because he'll be done early. Farmers say not only did they start earlier, but they've been making great progress since the fields haven't been as wet.

"With the dry weather we've had and the long hours I've been putting in, been getting 300 - 350 acres seeded a day," said Bekkerus.

Farmers say they're a week to ten days ahead of a normal year. They say the warm weather and high winds dried the soil faster than usual. They say last year the biggest problem was too much moisture in the soil, but this year some of the fields are actually on the drier side.

"As far as I would be concerned, half an inch to an inch of rain would be a welcome thing at this point," said Drees.

Drees says he finished planting sugar beets today, and he's about 75 percent done with his wheat.

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