Minnesota Tops Nation in Corn Yields

Minnesota Farmers See High Corn Yields

Sept. 13–Officially, Minnesota has the best corn in the Corn Belt. Yields should average 156 bushels an acre — tops in the U.S.

But farmers say the statewide average doesn’t reflect the crazy-quilt patchwork they’re seeing — from bumper crops to withered fields — after a strange and scorching summer. Read more

Retailers Still Unwrapping Big-Box Stores in Twin Cities

Love them or hate them, the rise of the discount “super store” continued to be one of the main themes in Minnesota’s retail scene over the first half of the year.

The Compass Report by Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq said that in a retail market still buffeted by a lack of consumer confidence, high vacancies and negative absorption, new mega-stores from the cash-laden likes of Wal-Mart, Menard’s and Costco are continuing to come online, with plans for more in the works. Read more

Area Farmer’s Escape Worst of Drought

Like most Minnesota corn farmers enduring the worst drought in more than a quarter-century, Jerry Demmer counts his blessings in bushels per acre. And like the majority of the state’s corn growers, he knows he’s got plenty to be thankful for.

Just-released crop production figures show that the drought has driven corn yields to a 17-year low nationally. The dry, hot summer has forced some farmers to turn whole fields of barren, sunburned cornstalks into silage. Poor yields have pushed the price of corn toward all-time highs and driven the cost of livestock feed in the same direction.

Experts predict a nationwide explosion of crop insurance claims that will cost private companies and the government billions of dollars. Read more

Farmers Drain Tiling More Land

Minnesota’s farmlands are being drain-tiled at a breakneck pace, prompting an often sharp debate that pits better crop yields against runoff and water-quality concerns.

To understand how quickly tile is going in, check out a small watershed district on the state’s western border.

In 1999, the Bois de Sioux Watershed District approved permits for 2.9 miles of subsurface tile, an artificial way to drain water from land. In 2009, it permitted 779.3 miles of drainage tile. Last year, it signed off on 1,558.3 miles. By mid-April, the total was approaching 1,000 miles, on pace to surpass 2011. Read more

Homebuilders Hot Suburb Markets

Twin Cities home builders are having their busiest season in five years, suggesting that their backhoes and pickup trucks are once again making tracks on vast undeveloped swaths of land throughout the metro.

Far from it.

Only a handful of suburbs are seeing new construction, and those areas have a limited supply of land. With demand for new houses rising, builders are predicting shortages of buildable lots and higher prices for new homes. The average base price already has jumped close to 8 percent in some areas, according to Metrostudy, a research company that tracks for-sale housing. Read more