Some of region's crops need rain, heatFor instance, 87 percent of North Dakota wheat is in good or excellent condition. Wheat is the state’s most important crop. “We have the potential for a good crop, but the key word is ‘potential,’ ” said Erica Olson, marketing specialist with the North Dakota Wheat Commission in Bismarck.
By: Jon Knutson, The Forum
Fargo farmer Claude Richard’s crops look good.
But if the weather doesn’t turn wetter and warmer, his crops – and those of most other area farmers – will go downhill fast.
“We could use some rain and then some higher temperatures,” he said.
Area crops overall are doing well, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
For instance, 87 percent of North Dakota wheat is in good or excellent condition. Wheat is the state’s most important crop.
“We have the potential for a good crop, but the key word is ‘potential,’ ” said Erica Olson, marketing specialist with the North Dakota Wheat Commission in Bismarck.
Some fields are running out of moisture and need rain soon, she said.
And the wet spring delayed planting, causing many fields to be much less advanced than usual, she said.
Some wheat fields, especially in the northern part of the state, could be harvested up to six weeks later than normal, putting them at greater risk from early frost, she said.
Virtually no wheat in North Dakota has been harvested, compared with an average of about 12 percent in early August in 2004-08, according to the National Ag Statistics Service.
Corn – typically the last of the area’s major crops to be planted and harvested – is particularly at risk, said Phil Glogoza, Minnesota Extension crops educator in Moorhead.
“We could use some heat,” he said.
Cool summer temperatures also are slowing corn’s maturity.
Fargo’s average daily temperature in July was 67 degrees, 4 degrees less than usual, according to the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.
Corn still looks good overall in Minnesota and North Dakota.
The crop rates 74 percent good or excellent in Minnesota and 69 percent good or excellent in North Dakota.
Nonetheless, many corn fields are two weeks or more behind their normal maturity, which would increase the damage done by early frost, Glogoza said.
Richard is optimistic of a good harvest if the weather cooperates.
“If we could get some rain and then some heat, it would help a lot,” Richard said.