ND crop

Sunflowers are drying down in the western region of the state, with bracts turning brown at 89 percent in the state.

Harvest is nearing the finish line for 2020, as cooler temperatures, light rain and strong winds moved through the state Oct. 11-12. The exception is corn, which is one fourth finished in the state.

The forecast statewide called for colder temperatures with a possibility of more rain/snow by the weekend and low temperatures in the 20s-30s projected for the third full week in October.

“The weather has been great for harvest, with only a few small rain showers that may have slowed the progress over the last month,” said Melissa Seykora, NDSU Extension agent in Sargent County in the southeastern region of the state. “We have received two frosts, the more recent one was variable across the county, and the earlier frost was widespread. It sounds like cold weather will be here to stay beginning tomorrow (Oct. 14).” 

Many producers are rapidly finishing their fall crops, especially soybeans and sugarbeets, but colder temperatures could put that back.

“I think our sunflowers got finished up yesterday, so everything dryland is now out of the field,” said Clair Keene, NDSU Extension cropping specialist, in the northwestern region of the state. “There are still some soybeans and corn left on our irrigated site and it’ll probably take a little while for them to dry down now since it’s turning cold.”

Sugarbeets harvested was 92 percent, well ahead of 28 percent last year and 60 percent of the five-year average.

In northeastern North Dakota, harvest is moving along quickly.

“Harvest in my county is mostly done except for few sunflowers, flax and soybeans. Compared to last year, we are very dry,” said Anitha Chirumamilla, NDSU Extension agent in Cavalier County. “Farmers are busy getting the fall work done and applying anhydrous.”

Corn harvest is one-fourth done across the state, according to the North Dakota Ag Statistics Service.

Corn maturity is rated 93 percent, well ahead of 36 percent last year, and ahead of 77 percent average.

Corn harvested was 25 percent complete, well ahead of 1 percent last year, and ahead of 9 percent for the five-year average.

Harvest is also moving along quickly in the southeastern region of the state.

“Harvest is progressing quickly in Sargent County as we have had nice fall weather with little precipitation so far. Soybeans are nearing completion in the county with the possibility of a few fields left to harvest,” Seykora said.

Many producers look to last fall, when corn in many areas of the state had to be left in the field and combined in the winter or the following spring.

They would like to finish corn before the snow arrives, which could be soon.

“Corn is getting harvested quickly, so a guess on progress would be 25 percent complete. There were a few fields of corn that were still being harvested this spring while the planters were rolling across the county,” Seykora said. “Farmers were trying to combine corn all winter long when it wasn’t too cold and they could get into their fields. I believe everything got harvested from last year, with the latest fields being harvested this spring.”

Producers are also starting fall work in some areas.

“There’s lots of fall tillage work is getting done as fields are harvested. Fertilizer is beginning to be applied to fields and a lot of applications will happen this week,” she added.

Sunflowers bracts turning yellow were 96 percent, near 94 percent last year. Bracts turning brown were 89 percent, well ahead of 66 percent last year, and near the 86 percent five-year average.

Flowers harvested were 24 percent, well ahead of 3 percent last year, and ahead of 10 percent for the average.

In the western region of the state, cow/calves are still out on pasture. A few producers bring their pairs home in October.

Pasture and range conditions were rated 36 percent fair and 20 percent good-to-excellent.

Throughout central and western parts of the state, many producers had their cattle grazing crop aftermath, especially corn.

Stock water supplies were rated 58 percent adequate.