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Hot, humid days helping develop crops across the state


In the foreground, a canola field has been eaten by grasshoppers, which have been spotted throughout the state. in the background, canola is flowering,

Across North Dakota in mid-July, producers dealt with a stretch of hot, humid days with temperatures flaring into the 90s, along with severe thunderstorms and hail in several regions.

Clair Keene, NDSU Extension small grain and cornagronomist, said small grains and corn are “generally doing well” across the state.

“Small grain, wheat, barley and durum have quickly developed and pushed through the vegetative stages due to the conditions we’ve had,” she said.

Keene said it was too early to tell what corn yields will do. Corn out in the eastern regions of the state is just starting to tassel.

“While corn has also pushed through the vegetative stages in the heat, yields will depend upon moisture through pollination and kernel fill, which will happen in the coming weeks,” she said.

Another big unknown for corn will be timing of the first frost this year.

“If it is late, we’ll be in okay shape, but if it comes very early, a lot of corn will likely get hit before it reaches full maturity,” Keene said.

In Grand Forks County, the high humidity has led to a risk of scab and farmers are spraying for it.

“Small grains are in the booting to heading stage. With higher humidity levels, the risk of scab (Fusarium head blight) is increasing in our area,” said Katelyn Landeis, NDSU Extension agent in Grand Forks County, on July 18. “Several farmers are already spraying their fields with fungicides or are getting ready to spray.”

A few farmers have started cutting winter wheat in Grand Forks County and are reporting a “beautiful crop,” she said.

According to Landeis, the corn and soybean in eastern regions of the state are doing well. Corn in the county is in the V8-V12 stages.

“I haven’t seen any tasseling yet, but I imagine that is coming next week,” Landeis said.

Soybeans are in variable growth stages, from V2 to R1, depending on when they were planted.

“Soybeans are looking well, and some are nearing canopy cover,” she said.  

She has seen some grasshoppers, but nothing like the outbreak in the northwestern regions of the state, where outbreaks have been severe.

In Renville County in the northwestern North Dakota, Bethany Gates, NDSU Extension agent, said small grains are heading and canola is still flowering.

“We have some winter wheat that is starting to turn. Harvest won’t be that far away,” Gates said.

With late planting, producers switched from corn to other crops, such as sunflower in Renville.

In far southeastern North Dakota in Richland County, Lacy Christopher, NDSU Extension agent, said corn and soybeans are progressing nicely.

“Corn and beans are coming along. I was out today and actually saw a few corn fields tasseling, as well as soybeans flowering. Soybeans are at the R1 stage or close to for many acres. With corn, we are getting close to our VT stage with some already there,” Christopher said.

Rainfall is short in the southeastern region of the state and producers need rain.

“Most of the county needs moisture and they need it soon. We have missed a lot of rain that our neighbors to the north and east have received,” she said. “We have seen a lot of IDC in soybeans this year. Grasshoppers are abundant, as well, and farmers have been dealing with them since early on in the season.”

According to the USDA-NASS report, 40 percent of soybeans are flowering and a few are setting pods, corn silking is 18 percent.

Spring wheat is 63 percent headed, behind last year’s 93 percent, and durum is 46 percent headed, behind last year’s 78 percent.

Canola is coloring and sunflowers have just started to bloom.

President Joe Biden granted North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s request for a presidential disaster declaration, according to Burgum’s office. Severe storms and flooding in the spring caused more than $57 million in damage across North Dakota.

The declaration covers all 40 of the requested counties. The declaration unlocks FEMA public assistance to help local governments, agencies, and communities recover from extensive infrastructure damage and makes resources available to help mitigate future flood damage.

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