Sunflowers are opening heads across the southwestern region.

Combines are starting up across North Dakota, with most producers cutting wheat, as harvest 2020 gets underway.

With several days of warm weather, ranging from 70-90 degrees depending on location, producers were able to get in the fields during the first full week in August to start combining.

“So far, I’ve seen two combines running wheat,” said Brooks Warner, NDSU Nelson County Extension agent in the eastern region of the state. “Overall, Nelson County crops look good.”

In the central and western regions of the state, combines are on the move, as well.

Also in Nelson County, Warner has noticed the sunflowers are starting to bloom, soybeans are flowering (in roughly the R2 stage), and corn has tasseled.

“Moisture is normal to slightly wet,” Warner said, adding they have had some light rain showers over the past couple of weeks. “But it has been dry enough for farmers to roll hay – plenty of guys bailing hay over the past week.”

Regarding insects, Warner spotted a few grasshoppers in the soybeans, and a few aphids – but not many.

Hannah Nordby, NDSU Extension agent in Adams County in the southwestern region of the state, said producers are starting to combine or are getting equipment ready to go.

“We have wheat, corn, sunflowers and some canola and flax, with most looking good,” she said, noting they have received some nice bouts of rain with the warm temperatures.

In Dunn County, Greg Benz, NDSU Extension agent, based in Killdeer, said since the last week in June, “We’ve gotten quite a bit of rain, and luckily, there have been passing showers every couple of days since.”

The needed moisture helped green up pastures that had been grazed. However, there were also many days of hot temperatures.

“Sadly, most small grains were far enough along that it won’t probably help yield, though it might improve the quality as most were filling heads at the time of the rains,” Benz said.

He has heard reports of some hail, though nothing devastating.  

“Sunflowers, corn and soybeans definitely have used the rains to really develop, and they’ve looked really impressive these last couple weeks,” he said.  

In Ransom County, Brian Zimprich, NDSU Extension agent, said winter wheat and rye have been harvested, and producers are also putting up straw.

The July-long sunshine and heat proved to be a big benefit to corn.

“Corn is currently trending above normal for heat units for this time of year. The heat has proven to be a real benefit for the corn,” Zimprich said. “Soybeans have really started to take off in the last week or so, with many of the rows filling in.”

Some of the later-planted soybeans were off to a rocky start, but Zimprich has seen some good growth recently. Sunflowers are growing well.

Small grains are developing well, not only in Ransom County, but across the state.

In Pembina County, Madeleine Smith, NDSU Extension agent, said the wheat is mature and looks like it is in good condition, although some later-planted fields still have some green in them.

“Many guys had trouble with all the rain we had getting in to spray herbicide and fungicide at optimal times. Applications of fungicide for scab have been made, and this will likely take care of any late-season wheat disease,” Smith said. “I encourage growers to be on the lookout for bacterial leaf streak, which tends to peak after high winds and hail and we seem to be getting both regularly.”

Potatoes are flowering and soybeans and dry beans are doing okay, depending on the location of the field.

“On the east side, in the heavier ground, there are a few drowned out areas, with poor canopy closure, and combined with wet soils, it makes it hard to get spray equipment in,” she said.

According to National Ag Statistics, soybeans are 55 percent setting pods, while spring wheat is 2 percent harvested. Durum coloring is 71 percent, well ahead of last year.

Corn silking is 80 percent, ahead of last year, and canola coloring is 51 percent, slightly ahead of last year. Potato rows were 78 percent closed, while sunflower were 54 percent blooming.

There has been enough rain to keep the pastures looking good.

“Cow/calf pairs are out on pasture and the pastures are still green, thanks to some bouts of rain,” Nordby said.