As the winter snow melts from the fields around the Red River Valley region, it seems to usually be either too wet or too dry for agricultural purposes. The concept of “just right” seems rare.

If winter snow is substantial, like it is this year, the snow reflects sunlight, keeping the weather cool. Frost in the ground makes it hard for moisture to be absorbed, keeping the soil soggy even after the snow has melted. The wet soils further keep the weather cool by wasting solar energy on evaporating moisture from the soggy ground instead of warming up the air. Spring fieldwork has to wait for warmer, drier days.

If the winter snow cover was light, then the strong sunlight beaming down this time of year tends to evaporate what little moisture is in the topsoil which becomes dusty in a hurry. This can be frustrating for the farmer who is either waiting for fields to be dry enough for work or else is planting seeds and hoping for rain.

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