Stutsman County has seen some varied growing conditions this crop year, according to Alicia Harstad, Extension county agent based in Jamestown, N.D. Early in the planting season the southern part of the county had surplus moisture supplies and as a result there is a little more prevented plant in that area than there normally is.
On July 16, the northern part of the county was hit by heavy rain, which drowned out some crops and left a lot of water filled potholes.
“Throughout the county spraying and haying has been a challenge for growers since it rained just about every other day there for a while,” Harstad said. “Getting cover crops seeded has also been a challenge for some – if you can’t drive across the field, it is pretty hard to put cover crops on.”
The late season row crops like corn and soybeans got off to a slow start and farmers are hoping for a late fall to help compensate. The corn was really helped with the week of warm weather experienced during the middle of July.
Some of the small grains are starting to turn color, so the earliest wheat harvest is still at least two weeks away, Harstad noted.
As far as the first cutting of alfalfa, a few growers were disappointed in the tonnage in areas that were a little on the dry side this spring.
“For the most part I think they were satisfied with the quantity of hay they harvested, but they’re concerned about the quality of that hay if they had to bale it a little on the wet side because of the frequent rains we had,” Harstad said.
Pasture conditions remain good in most areas of the county. The only exception is in the extreme north-central part of the county, where it was on the dry side last fall, but rains this year have helped that area recover some.
Going up to the northeastern corner of the state, rainfall this growing season has been below normal. Randy Mehlhoff, director of the Langdon Research Extension Center told those attending their Hemp Field Day that rainfall has been running about 50 percent of normal this year. However, about a week ago, the region did receive some significant rain showers and that has brought their level up to about 60 percent of the normal amount at this time of the year.
Cavalier County Extension agent Anitha Chirumamilla said at this time she doesn’t see any yield losses in the small grains or canola crops due to moisture stress, but it has been about 10 days since the last good rain in the area. If that continues for another week, the crops may start showing some effects of a moisture shortage.
This year, those growing canola were challenged by flea beetle infestations.
“It seems to me like it is an every year battle with the flea beetles,” she said. “Last year and again this year, we have had huge populations and there were a few farmers that had to replant a field.
“At that time farmers are busy planting other crops, in addition to canola, and are not scouting for the flea beetles. If they see the populations are getting out of control, they could do a foliar spray to take care of them. The beetles don’t need much time to devastate an entire field,” she added.
The small grains in the area are starting to turn color and in the next month or so harvest should be in full swing. The future of the soybean crop, Chirumamilla said, will depend on the moisture received in the next few weeks, since timely rains will be necessary for a good soybean crop.