Excess moisture is still a problem in the LaMoure County area, according to Extension agent Julianne Racine.
“We had big rain yesterday (June 24), so we’re still dealing with more water than what we need,” she said. “We have several roads that are still washed out and we will have a lot of prevented plant acres this year. Many are going to try and seed some cover crops on the prevented plant acres, as long as the areas dry out enough to be seeded.”
The small grains that were planted are looking good right now, but the condition of the corn crop varies, she noted.
“Some of the corn will be knee-high by the Fourth of July, while other fields will not be that high,” she said. “The excess moisture has stunted some of the corn from growing and some areas didn’t emerge at all. The rainfall brings up the saline and the saline issues have gotten worse.”
Soybeans in the county are looking short for this time of year because of the lack of heat units, which is something all of the crops in the area need.
“It has been a difficult spring,” she said.
As for pasture conditions in LaMoure County, the land has greened up nicely, but due to the lack of warm weather, the grass is slow growing. The late start to the spring-like weather and the cool temperatures will likely reduce the tonnage of the first cutting of alfalfa.
North central North Dakota
Moisture was in short supply early in the spring throughout the north central region of the state, which translated into late germination and delayed emergence of crops, according to Sara Clemens, Bottineau County Extension agent.
“We got it all in and then it just sat in the ground and didn’t come up very good because we were dry up here to start with,” Clemens said. “We got some rain recently so our crops are out of the ground, but we are still seeing delays in our crops’ progress. Some of our wheat is starting to head out and some of it is just jointing. So we will probably see a little bit later harvest than what we normally see.”
The corn is only 2-3 inches tall at this time and is in need of heat units to start stretching out.
With all of the planting completed, farmers have now moved onto spraying for weed control.
She reports the western end of the county, around Mohall, is still a little short of moisture, while there is adequate moisture in the Bottineau and Willow City area.
“We are recovering from our drought status last year, but we are still considered in the D-1 and D-0 status in Bottineau,” she explained.
The hay crop is delayed in Bottineau County and the pastures have been slow to respond to the rain due to the fact that pastures and hay land were really hit hard with drought conditions last year, Clemens explained. Because of shortage of forage supplies, many of the farmers were putting their cattle out to graze before the pastures were really ready.
“We had a lot of recovering pastures that needed this latest rain desperately, but they are still not producing where they need to be,” Clemens said. “Part of that is we have the top soil moisture, but haven’t gotten enough rain where the moisture can seep down into the lower profiles yet. It could be 2-4 years for the pastures to get back to where they should be.”
Western North Dakota
In the southwestern region of the state, Hannah Nordby, NDSU Extension agent in Adams County, said crops are coming along “nicely.”
“A lot of the spring wheat is jointing, especially for those who could get in their fields early,” she said. “Our hay is looking good and no one has reported any alfalfa weevils.”
The county was right on the edge of being part of the emergency declaration due to heavy snow in the spring.
“We did have a hard winter and things are certainly green around here. We had a cold, wet spring, but the weather is better, and everyone has gotten their fields planted,” she said.
In the west-central to northwestern region of the state, Devan Leo, NDSU McKenzie County agent, said crops are growing well.
“We’ve been a little droughty, but last week we received rain, along with more on the weekend, and a shower on Monday (June 24),” Leo said. “That helped our crops and they look good now. I think they gained a half-inch in growth.”
Producers in the northwest have been busy spraying for weeds.
Recent rainfall relieved dry conditions in McKenzie, Williams and Divide counties.
“Rainfall has been extremely spotty and variable,” said Clair Keene, Williston Research Extension Center cropping systems specialist.
Spring wheat in the northwest is jointing, while early-planted peas have five nodes visible and early-planted soybean has one-to-two trifoliate leaves.
Dave Franzen, NDSU soil specialist, said they have recently discovered that it is not only aluminum toxicity that farmers with low pH soils need to worry about.
“During the past week, we found that another consequence of acid surface soils can be manganese (Mn) toxicity in canola,” Franzen said.
Producers in the west should contact their Extension agent or research center for what to do.
Livestock producers throughout the west have sent their cow/calf pairs out to pasture in the western region of the state.
“We had a cold spring, but now the cows are looking better and they have all been turned out on pasture,” Leo added.
Down in Adams County, Nordby said all the cow/calf pairs have been taken to their summer pastures.
According to NDAWN, for the week starting June 10, Berthold recorded 1.19 inches of rain; Watford City, .57 inches of rain; Williston, 1.35 inches of rain; Hazen, .35 inches; Hettinger, .69 inches; Bowman, .97 inches; Mott, 1.56 inches; Minot, .55 inches; Beach, on the North Dakota/Montana border, .76 inches and Dickinson, .70 inches.