Area small grains thrive, row crops struggle

Corn, soybeans yearn for some heat as weather expected to remain mild

wheat field
Small grains fields are flourishing in the cool weather.

Northeast North Dakota small grains fields are thriving under near ideal weather conditions as cool temperatures and adequate moisture have combined to produce good growth.

“The grain crops in our area look wonderful,” said Mike Morgan, of Thompson Farmers Co-Op Elevator.

Further north, the wheat crops in the Park River area, also look good, said Tom Burchill, Walsh Grain Terminal LLC manager.

Statewide, the condition of the spring wheat crop was rated 75 percent good and 8 percent excellent the week ending June 16, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service-North Dakota. The winter wheat condition was rated 72 percent good and 8 percent excellent and barley was 80 percent good and 4 percent excellent.

But while cool, wet conditions are favorable for small grains growth, they are not ideal for row crops, such as corn and soybeans.


“They’vre behind in development,” Morgan said.

Cold, wet weather delayed spring row crop planting and temperatures since then haven’t been warm enough to spur growth.

John Aamodt, an Arvilla farmer, said the weather and soil conditions this spring delayed his corn planting by a couple of weeks.

“Normal for us is if we get started the last week of April and wrap up in the middle of May,” Aamodt said. “A lot of corn didn’t get planted until the middle of May.”

Eighty-six percent of the corn planted in North Dakota had emerged as of June 16, 9 percent less than last year and the five-year average, the statistics service reported. Soybean emergence was 74 percent, 12 percent behind last year and 13 percent behind the five-year average.

In Minnesota, 87 percent of the corn crop had emerged, almost two weeks behind normal, the National Agricultural Statistics Service-Minnesota said. Seventy-five percent of the soybeans crop had emerged, two weeks behind last year and the five-year average, the statistics service said.

In northwest Minnesota, however, corn and soybeans planting, in general, was not delayed as much as it was further south, so emergence is not as far behind as it is in some areas, said Angie Peltier, University of Minnesota Extension Service regional crops educator. There were some emergence problems with the corn crop, however, because the soil cracked after planting and seedlings were exposed to the sun, according to Peltier, adding that it remains too dry in parts of northwest Minnesota.

“We need more rain,” Peltier said.


Though moisture is adequate in most areas of northeast North Dakota, seasonable temperatures would benefit the corn and soybeans crops.

“We just need sunshine and we need some warmer weather, and we can make progress,” Aamodt said.

“Low 80s and good moisture would be what the corn would like,” Burchill said.

Mostly cloudy skies and a chance of thunderstorms are predicted through Friday, the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks reported. Skies are forecast to be partly cloudy during the weekend with a chance of showers and thunderstorms.

The long-range forecast for July through September is for equal chances of above and below normal temperatures and precipitation, the Climate Prediction Center said.

“The likelihood is it won’t depart from normal very much,” said Bill Barrett, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks.

The temperatures and precipitation for the remainder of June likely will gravitate toward normal, Barrett said.

“We’re probably going to settle into a more non-drastic pattern," he said.


Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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