Despite a slow start to the planting season, Roger Christenson of rural Claremont stood in his cornfield with corn well over “knee high by the Fourth of July.”
Crops Behind, But Rebounding
Area farmers did not get everything planted that they would have liked this spring, but crops in the ground are beginning to make up for lost time.
A few weeks ago there was some question if corn would reach the traditional “knee high by the Fourth of July,” which is normally a sure thing. Numbers of fields now sport waist-high corn plants, but overall the corn crop is behind schedule.
“The corn crop looks good,” said Full Circle Ag Agronomist Joe Gustafson. “There will be some that is not knee-high by the Fourth, and the corn is probably about two weeks behind at this point. We need some heat now to catch up, but a lot of the corn could be susceptible to an early frost this fall.
“Beans are a little late but should be fine. Soybeans are more sunlight driven than heat unit driven.”
Gustafson estimated that about 80 percent of the planned corn acres and 60 percent of the soybean acres in the Britton area were planted. He noted that some of the dryer bean acres had been converted to corn because of the wet conditions.
A change this year will help farmers get some production out of prevented planting acres. Previously, nothing was allowed to be planted in those wet areas until Nov. 1. This year planting may take place on Sept. 1.
“Farmers may still have a problem getting into fields in September because it’s too wet, but with the new date they have some hope of planting a hay or forage product and get some feed value from those acres,” said Gustafson.
Chad Voss of Agtegra in Langford reported a similar crop situation in the southern part of the region. He estimated that about 80 percent of the corn acres and 60 percent of the soybean acres had been planted.
Voss noted that wet conditions were not only the result of the heavy snow and late winter storms.
“We’ve had quite a bit of flooding of acres that did get planted,” said Voss. “It has just kept raining.”
John Symens, who farms in the Amherst area, said that they were able to get about 90 percent of their corn in the ground but that some of those acres had since been flooded out.”
On the other hand, Maynard Bosse said only about 15 percent of their acres had been planted in the Kidder area.
Voss said that the wheat crop could be a bright spot in this growing season.
“The corn and bean crops are behind but the wheat is about where it should be with some of it ahead of normal. There is some wheat put in before the frost was all out that is fully headed out, which is not always normal for the Fourth.”
Jim Gallagher of Full Circle Ag in Forman, ND, reported that less corn was planted in southeast North Dakota. He estimated that about 60 percent of the corn crop had been planted and about 75 percent of the bean acres.
“There were a lot of acres that didn’t get seeded with water standing in the low spots,” said Gallagher. “There was some stuff that probably could have been planted but farmers quit because of the calendar. It seems to be that way from here all the way to Fargo.”
Gallagher said there is some corn waist-high and some just out of the ground.
“Some of the stuff was seeded under less than ideal conditions and the soil formed a crust that led to poor emergence. Some areas have goodlooking corn and bad-looking corn in the same field.”
The biggest thing that is needed now is heat.
“We need heat more than anything,” said Gallagher. “We’ve had a lot of days between 68-75 degrees, and we need a little more heat than that.”
The best thing now is sunshine and decent summer weather and warm nights,” added Voss. “And rain in small increments 10 days apart.”
Despite the wet conditions throughout the planting season, Gustafson said you have to be careful what you wish for.
“We’re always only two weeks away from a drought. You never want to wish the rain away.”