Drier weather has allowed farmers across northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota to make good planting progress the past week.
While wet patches remain in scattered areas, many farmers have finished planting wheat and are seeding soybeans, crop watchers said.
“We really lucked out,. We missed all that rain this weekend,” said Mike Morgan, Thompson Farmers Co-Op Elevator manager. “The guys are going really good. Most of the sugar beets are done. Most of the wheat, 70% of the corn. We have guys that are putting in soybeans."
Late next week and in early June farmers will likely finish up corn planting, Morgan said.
Farmers in areas that still are wet are burning last year's corn ground to dry the fields so they can get into plant them. Some farmers also are burning off last year's grass to improve this year's vegetation.
Further south in Traill County, most farmers were back in the field again Monday after weekend rains stalled planting, said Alyssa Scheve, Traill County Extension Agent.
“The majority of the guys have most of the fields planted. It was full-on farming last week,” Scheve said, noting many farmers were planting well after sundown.
Last week there were almost six days suitable for fieldwork the North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service said. Spring wheat was 66% planted, 8% behind last year at this time and the five-year average. Soybean planting was 24%, lagging behind last year’s average of 30% and the five-average of 39%. Corn planting was 42%, which is behind last year’s average of 58% and the five-year average of 63%, the statistics service said.
In northwest Minnesota, farmers in Polk and Red Lake counties are getting caught up with spring planting, said Heather Dufault, extension educator for Polk, Clearwater and Red Lake counties.
“We’ve got a few guys wrapping up. I think most of the wheat is done.”
“Heat units is what we need now,” Dufault said.
Sunny days are needed to warm the soil.
“We need prolonged sunshine,” Scheve said. We have to get our soil temperature up to get some favorable germination. The small grains that were planted at the end of April are just starting to peak out,” she said.
Statewide in North Dakota, 18% of the wheat was emerged the week that ended May 19, 9% less than last year and 24% less than the five-year average. Corn emergence was 1%, behind last year’s average of 7% and the five-year average of 19%.