Seeding was progressing nicely across the state of North Dakota by mid-May, although planting was behind due to rain falling in many regions, and some windy days limited spraying.
Some producers are still cutting 2019 crops, and others need to seed around wet spots in low-lying areas.
Jill Lagein, NDSU Extension agent based in Hillsboro, said it has been slow-going in Traill County with rain the first week in May.
“Some farmers got in before it rained for a couple days and now they’ve been sitting for a week. Ever since last September, Traill County has had more than enough moisture, and fields continue to be wet in some areas,” she said.
In the central region of the state in Wells County, a few producers have been out doing fieldwork and seeding some small grains.
“Not many fields have been touched yet. A few select producers have done some fieldwork and I believe some small grains have been seeded,” said Lindsay Maddock, NDSU Extension agent in Wells County, based in Fessenden.
Over the winter, most of the corn was combined in the area, although some dry beans and soybeans remain in the fields.
“Some dry beans and soybeans did not get harvested. It is still quite wet, but if we don’t get too much rain on Wednesday (May 13), producers can get out and get started/continue fieldwork and planting,” she said.
As soon as fields warm up, producers will want to plant corn, Maddock pointed out.
“Guys will want to start on corn as soon as the ground warms up, so I’m not sure what folks will end up with for small grains. There will be plenty of soybeans and dry beans seeded, as well,” she said.
In far southwestern North Dakota, near the South Dakota border, planting is continuing to progress.
“Producers are out in the field seeding. Those that I have chatted with have durum in and are in the process of finishing up wheat, if they aren’t already done,” said Hannah Nordby, Adams County Extension agent based in Hettinger.
Fields have dried out with some warm temperatures, sunny days and only light rain.
“Fields are dry for the most part, although in the low dips there is standing water,” she said. “It’s been relatively dry around here, but the subsoil level is decent. However, it would be nice to get a splash of moisture.”
In northwestern North Dakota, planting is moving along quickly.
“Planting has been under way in Williams County since the last week of April. A few early birds got into fields the third week of April, but only in fields dry enough to do so,” said Clair Keene, NDSU Extension specialist in cropping systems at the Williston Research Extension Center.
As of the first week of May, many fields in the county were still soft with high subsoil moisture, due to precipitation last fall.
“Fields have been drying out since then and a lot of fields have been planted over the last two weeks (last week of April/first week of May),” she said.
Producers planted peas and other pulses first and are now planting small grains.
“There are still some places too soft to drive, so it will be slow going for some,” Keene said. “In the southern part of the county, the topsoil is dry but we have lots of subsoil moisture. Most areas have had less than .25 inches of rain total for April and the first week and a half of May. So surprisingly, it has been a dry spring so far.”
Keene said crops planted 2-3 weeks ago are beginning to emerge.
“It has been cooler than normal, so things are slow to get up,” she said. “We’ve had a few good days for spraying, so some has happened, but we’ve also had a number of very windy days, too.”
In the southwestern region, Ryan Buetow, NDSU Extension Cropping Systems specialist at Dickinson Research Extension Center, said producers are planting pulses, wheat and canola, and some have started on corn and soybeans. Others are spraying.
“Some fields and portions of fields are still too wet to get into, but most of the acres I’ve seen could use some moisture in the topsoil,” Buetow said.
According to the National Ag Statistics Service, North Dakota, most crops are behind the five-year average due to wet conditions impeding harvest last fall. Some crops remain in the field, but corn harvest is now at 93 percent.
Some 4 percent of soybeans have been planted, behind 17 percent for the five-year average.
Slightly more than one-fourth of spring wheat has been planted, behind the average of 33 percent.