Last year, farmers in North Dakota were battling a wet fall and early snowfall. But now, with parts of the state abnormally dry, they’re looking for some rain.
“Parts of western North Dakota are abnormally dry, some areas aren’t, but around Bismarck, that’s actually in a moderate drought,” said Tom Schrader, chief meteorologist.
“You know, the last year has really been a wild 12 months for us as a farm. Right about this time last year, it started raining and it never really shut off,” said Cale Neshem, farmer at Flatland Farms.
And then the ground froze, and farmers were scrambling to try and remove the harvest before winter, with some farmers even waiting until this spring.
When everything was removed, it wasn’t much better when it came time to seed.
“Last year, we had really good conditions in the spring to seed into, versus this year, the conditions to see into were not very good,” Neshem said.
So far this summer, Neshem says things have been pretty nice for their crops.
But now, he and other farmers are looking for an inch or two of rain.
“The wheat is just now starting to ripen up. We’re still probably two weeks away from harvest. Between now and about the next 10 days, we’ll probably want the rain to shut off, but we could definitely use an inch or two on our row crops: our soybeans, corn and sunflowers,” Neshem said.
Schrader says they may be in luck.
“Well, we have actually a couple of chances of rain over the next seven days. The highest odds for any measurable moisture is going to be east of Hwy 83, but when I look at the Climate Prediction Center, for the entire month of August, there’s some pretty good confidence we’ll have above-normal precipitation,” Schrader said.
If that doesn’t happen, Neshem says they could lose their yield or produce low-quality crops.
The Climate Prediction Center shows fairly high confidence for above-normal precipitation for the months of August, September and October.