A very cold April put many farmers in North Dakota behind schedule for planting.
The USDA reports that, through yesterday, spring wheat was 20% planted, well below the long term average of 38%.
And you might think that in the north – near the Canadian border – the delay has been greater.
Jim Olson reports, that’s not exactly the case.
When Parker Gates slammed the door on this tractor this morning, he set off on planting the most important crop on his farm.
(Parker Gates, Mohall-Area Farmer) “Started some spring wheat today.”
He’ll put in 2500 acres of wheat – a crop that’s been a staple on this land for many years. And this planting date is pretty close to normal.
(Parker Gates, Mohall-Area Farmer) “For us it’s about normal – whatever normal is.”
The Gates family grows wheat that’s used as seed on other farms in subsequent years.
(Parker Gates, Mohall-Area Farmer) “This is SY Rockford from Syngenta-AgriPro.”
(Jim Olson, KX News) “Here in the northern part of the state in places like Renville and Bottineau County, they’re used to starting in May so that’s not a big problem. One other thing that sets them apart from the rest of the state: there’s quite a bit of water out there – at least on the surface right now.”
(Parker Gates, Mohall-Area Farmer) “Last year we started out really wet and ended up really dry. That’s why I’m surprised at how much water we do have sitting.”
Gates had to dodge several ponds of water in this 230 acre field. But County Agent LoAyne Voigt says the standing water may be a bit misleading.
(LoAyne Voigt, Renville County Agent) “Last year we had a lot of stored soil moisture that helped us. This year we’re a lot drier than last spring.”
So she and most producers are hoping for some moisture soon…
(LoAyne Voigt, Renville County Agent) “We’d like to see a quarter-inch rain this week.”
And over the long haul.
(LoAyne Voigt, Renville County Agent) “We’re hoping the rains keep the pattern going across us.”
To help this on schedule seeding season end in a solid harvest. Jim Olson, KX News.
Along with wheat, the Gates family will be putting in barley, canola, and sobeans this year.