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Winter wheat harvest underway in western North Dakota

Winter wheat

Harvest of winter wheat and pulse crops has begun in the western and southwestern regions of the state with producers combining a “very nice” wheat crop this year.

Harvest of winter wheat and pulse crops has begun in the western and southwestern regions of the state with producers combining a “very nice” wheat crop this year.

“The winter wheat looks very good, and some are already reporting yields in the 50, 60, and 70-bushel per acre range,” said Heidi Marxen, NDSU Extension agent in Hettinger County.

According to the USDA-NASS, at the end of July, winter wheat was 18 percent harvested across the state, near the average of 22 percent.

In Hettinger County, there had been signs of Fusarium head blight in some of the wheat, but producers have been out spraying for it.

“They have been spraying fungicide,” Marxen said.

Other growers have dessicated peas to start cutting in a week or so. Up in the northwestern region of the state, pea and lentil harvest has begun.

The spring wheat throughout the southwest looks nice, depending on growing conditions. It is just beginning to turn color.

Corn was planted late due to excessive spring moisture in Hettinger County.

“We had so much spring moisture and corn was seeded later than normal. Most of the corn is beginning to tassel,” she said.

Across the state, high temperatures have created hot conditions for fieldwork. For the end of July/beginning of August, temperatures have reached into the upper 80s and 90s, with some light rain showers early on. The short-term forecast is for warm weather and thunderstorms.

The seasonal outlook from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center for August, September, and October in North Dakota is for equal chances for below-normal, normal, or above-normal temperatures. The precipitation outlook is the same, except for the far southern areas of the state, which are leaning toward below-normal precipitation.

In the north in Cavalier County, Bailey Reiser, NDSU Extension agent, said the crops are looking good in the county, but maturities are varied.

“There is variance on maturities in the different crops and in the county, but everything looks really good. There is everything from early flowering canola to canola that has finished flowering, and most of it is finished flowering and some past flowering,” Reiser said. “There is a lot of wheat that is in the boot stage, as well as fields that are short and tillering or wheat that is headed out.”

In addition, peas are flowering and sunflowers are gaining in height.

“We are still about three weeks behind everyone in the state. We had a really late start,” she said, explaining that it was cold and wet early on, especially after the second blizzard in April, when there was some flooding.

As a result, many of the planting dates in the county were late. Some producers in Cavalier County reported planting dates from May 22-30 for wheat, and May 26 to June 8 for soybeans. Canola planting dates were from June 3-12 for some producers.

Reiser said during the last week in July, producers were out spraying fungicide on wheat and other crops.

In the south central region in Burleigh County, Tyler Kralicek, said crops and hay are both looking very good this year.

“Right now, crops are definitely looking good. Most of the rye is either rolled up in hay or is 80 percent harvested,” he said.

Oats are in the process of being harvested or rolled up into hay.

“Our wheat is either just past flowering or just starting for those later-planted wheat crops. Barley is starting to turn and is a couple weeks away from harvest,” Kralicek said.

Some of the crops were hit with some hail that came through in mid-July.

“We’ll see how that rebounds. A couple of corn fields and sunflower fields got defoliated, but it wasn’t widespread,” he said. “Unfortunately, the folks to the south by St. Anthony got hit pretty badly, so there is definitely some damage.”

Corn is tasseling and soybeans are just hitting the R1 stage.

“Some of the soybeans look pretty good and other beans that got in late could use rain over the next couple of months. Rain is critical when they are filling pods,” he said. “We are not ideal in terms of our moisture situation. July 4 was probably the last measurable rain. So precipitation is needed for a good outcome.”

Sunflower oils are just starting to bloom and many look “exceptional” in Burleigh County, Kralicek said.

According to NASS, soybeans were 63 percent in good-to-excellent condition, and whole blooming was 86 percent.

Spring wheat was mostly headed, and coloring was 33 percent, behind last year.

Corn silking was 59 percent, behind last year. Dough was 7 percent.

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