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Weekend rainfall a mixed blessing for some Minnesota farmers

Rainfall brings pros and cons to Minnesota farmers
Rainfall brings pros and cons to Minnesota farmers 01:46

DUNDAS, Minn. -- The rain this weekend would've been helpful for Minnesota's farmers during our drought-filled summer, but now it's a bit of a mixed blessing.

Nate Watters, the co-owner of Keepsake Cidery in Dundas in Rice County, says it waterlogged some of his apples as they begin picking.

Heavy rain also can prevent picking altogether.

But Watters says for him, there was a silver lining to the drought this summer.

Trees damaged during a July hailstorm had the chance to heal, he says.


"If we had had many wetting periods, I think I would've had a much harder time dealing with diseases," Watters said.

Now that the harvest has started, Watters estimates he lost 25-30% of his apples from the hail, or 15,000 pounds of fruit.

"It's a bummer," he said. "It's definitely a disappointment to see that."

For most of the state's farmers, Minnesota's Agriculture Commissioner, Thom Petersen, says more rain would've been nice.

"We really could've used some rain around the State Fair time to finish off the crops," Petersen said. "Not having that rain... It really pushed down probably some of those yields."

Petersen says yields will be average to below average, and now the most recent rainstorms are making crops more difficult to harvest.

"It's kind of interesting, you pray for rain all year then you hope for a dry time during harvest," Petersen said. "Right now, I think farmers need the ground moisture pretty bad."

The Department of Agriculture says this rain has given some relief to cattle farm pastures that need it.

Petersen says the sugar beet yield looks above average.

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