As drought conditions persist, producers may be thinking about its impacts on next year’s crops.
North Dakota is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, and according to the National Weather Service, it’s expected to continue throughout the winter.
Gary Neshem, a Berthold farmer, says that the drought was tough on this year’s crops — but he had some to harvest.
“Actually the crops turned out better than probably what we thought they were gonna be, but it certainly wasn’t what it should’ve been,” said Neshem. “So, we’ve had a little moisture this fall, but we’re certainly not out of the drought conditions hereby any means.”
While conditions have slightly improved, a research agronomist at the North Dakota State University’s North Central Research Extension Center says winter is a time we usually don’t see rain.
“We typically are dry during this time,” said Eric Eriksmoen. “Although we typically have cold weather which makes snow stick around a little bit longer.”
He says we were fortunate to get three inches of rainfall in October and the moisture is still in the soil.
“That will be enough moisture to set us up for planting in the springtime,” said Eriksmoen. “Most of our small seedlings, the crops that we plant, don’t need a lot of water until probably June.”
Neshem says that while the drought conditions made the crop yield low, it’s something he has seen before.
“We didn’t really harvest very much in ’88,” said Neshem. “So, a lot of people don’t remember that, but I do.”
Eriksmoen is hopeful for the future and the crops that will be harvested next year.
“Although we don’t have snow on the ground today, we still should feel pretty good about where we are and where we’re going into this coming season,” said Eriksmoen.
The NWS reports that there is an indication of above-average snowfall in North Dakota this winter.