Skip to main content

When can you get in the field? Crop farmer survey

Anna Cates, State soil health specialist

Photo: Liz Stahl
Timing is everything for farmers working in Minnesota’s short growing season. Getting into the field during a window of good weather to plant, spray, or harvest can make the difference between profitability and loss. It can also mean the difference between a frantic, sleepless night and a relaxing evening with the family, and those stressful seasons can add up to long-term differences in quality of life. To better understand how crop management affects farm operations timing and stress, UMN researchers are surveying row crop farmers.

We have heard some anecdotes about farmers who no-till and plant cover crops getting into the field faster than neighbors waiting for a compacted area to dry out. We’ve been trying to address that question with field studies exploring how row crop management systems change soil response to rain, and farmer access to fields after rain. We monitored pairs of farms using contrasting management for soil structure and moisture for 2 growing seasons. While this data analysis is ongoing, it looks like soil structure was really different on soil health farms, but soil moisture didn’t change drastically between management systems.

While we are busy analyzing all our field data from our cooperator farms and the Southern Research and Outreach Center, we are also looking to gather information from Minnesota farmers. Any crop farmer in Minnesota is invited to participate in our farmer survey. This survey will collect information including farm characteristics, how farming practices impact your workable field days, and the impact this has on farmer stress and overall quality of life. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and can be completed online at Prior to beginning the survey, all respondents will be asked to sign a document, consenting to participation in the research study.

Participation in the survey is completely voluntary and individual data gathered will be kept private. In any sort of report we might publish, we will not include any information that will make it possible to identify an individual subject. Research records will be stored securely and only researchers will have access to the records.

For more information

Questions about the survey can be directed to Anna Cates (; 612-625-3135) or Emily Krekelberg (; 612-756-3977).

The research team for this project includes Anna Cates (, Jeffrey Vetsch (, Gregg Johnson (, Bill Lazarus (, and Emily Krekelberg ( 

Print Friendly and PDF