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What Does Easter Have to Do With an Early or a Late Spring?

I have heard on more than one occasion that a late Easter means a late start of the growing season. However, if I look at the calendar date of Easter and the first reports of seeding wheat in Minnesota from 1981 through 2021, the relationship across years between the two dates is very weak and statistically non-significant (Figure 1). 

It appears that very little if any small grains will be seeded before Easter this year as a major storm is predicted to roll across much of Minnesota later today. The next question you ask yourself is whether is getting too late already to seed spring wheat, barley, and oats in southern Minnesota.  For now, I would say, not yet.  The planting window for southern Minnesota really does not close until about the first week of May (Table 1).

Figure 1 - Relationship between the calendar date of Easter weekend 
in days after January 1st and the first wheat being seeded in
Minnesota as reported by USDA-ARS between 1981 and 2021.

Table 1 - Optimum and last recommended planting dates for small grains in Minnesota 


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