Harvest is continuing across North Dakota, while frost swept through the state on Labor Day.
In Steele County, Angie Johnson, NDSU Extension agent, said frost arrived in the area on Sept. 7-8.
“Leaves and the tops on the soybeans might have been affected, but main stems came through the frost fine. The freezing temperatures lasted longer in farmland bottoms and low-lying areas, and we’ll have to see if the soybeans come out of it,” she said.
Most of the producers in Steele plant the lower-maturity soybeans, so the majority of the beans were well along before the early frost.
“Our soybean producers don’t use the longer-maturity, for the most part,” she said.
Spring wheat harvest in the state is about 80-85 percent complete.
“There’s still a few working on combining spring wheat and we have just started cutting edible beans, and those producers are rolling,” Johnson said.
With edible beans, some producers knife through them and put them in windrows, while others straight cut the beans.
Spring wheat looked like an average crop, but Steele County producers had good falling numbers, a concern in 2019.
Sunflowers in Steele look good after the frost.
“Flowers are a tough plant when it comes to frost. We get disease and weeds, but the main yield robber on sunflowers is still blackbirds. Producers here hurry to dry down their sunflowers as far as possible before the onslaught of blackbirds,” she said.
In the northwestern region of the state, Clair Keene, NDSU Extension cropping systems specialist at the NDSU Williston Research Extension Center (WREC), said harvest was moving along quickly.
“Most fields of small grains are harvested and producers are finishing up cutting canola,” Keene said.
In areas that experienced drought in May and June, yields are below average-to-average, while areas that caught more rain are seeing average-to-above average yields.
“There are some areas of good yields near Ray and further east into Mountrail County where rainfall was more abundant,” she said.
The region did receive frost, but it was unlikely to have affected fall crops.
“I haven’t gotten any calls from producers concerned about it,” she said.
The western half of Williams County has been very dry this summer, so yields have been affected. Fall crops were already drying down before the frost hit.
“The eastern side of the county, around Tioga, received more rain, and were getting good wheat yields,” Keene said.
The frost affected the leaves and tops of the soybean plants on the eastern side, but not the stems. The plants should grow out of it.
“Most producers in the western area plant the NDSU public soybean varieties with maturities ranging from 00.8-00.9. You can keep the seed and they mature quickly,” she said.
Sunflowers are drying down quickly in the northwest.
“It has been so dry here that the flowering window was very short, and sunflowers lost their ray petals and were drying down in August. They are close to harvest,” she said.
In Bottineau County, Sara Clemens, NDSU Extension agent, said an early frost hit on Labor Day.
She said the soybeans got hit on the tops, but the stems look okay.
Spring harvest is nearly complete in her county.
“Wheat has wrapped up and canola is close to finishing up. The canola looks good,” she said.
In the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, there are areas of dry conditions in the western half of the state, with several counties in the northwest in moderate drought. Parts of Morton and Burleigh counties have a small area of severe drought within an arrow-shaped area of moderate drought.
According to the North Dakota National Ag Statistics Service, soybean condition is 53 percent good-to-excellent, with dropping leaves at 58 percent of the five-year average, while corn is 57 percent good-to-excellent. Sunflowers are 50 percent good-to-average with ray flowers dry at 88 percent.
Beets are 10 percent harvested, while potatoes were 20 percent done.
Pasture and range conditions are 65 percent in good-to-excellent condition.
Clemens said a few cattle producers are fall grazing their cattle and continue to winter graze.
“Others are making plans to bring their cow/calves home in October,” Clemens said.
Bottineau County has had some “tough” years with their hay crop due to drought. This year, their hay looks good.
“It is a rejuvenation year for hay here. We’ll have a good hay crop for winter,” she added.