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Published August 16, 2010, 07:42 PM

Crop update: Spring wheat, barley behind in N.D.

The spring wheat and barley harvests remain behind normal in North Dakota and well ahead of normal in Minnesota, where the crops aren’t as big a deal.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

The spring wheat and barley harvests remain behind normal in North Dakota and well ahead of normal in Minnesota, where the crops aren’t as big a deal.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly survey of county extension agents, only 27 percent of the spring wheat in North Dakota was combined by Sunday and 43 percent of the barley. That compares to 38 percent and 55 percent, respectively, on average from 2005-2009 by the same date.

In Minnesota, three-fourths of the spring wheat was harvested by Sunday, 71 percent of the barley, compared to the normal 42 percent and 61 percent, respectively.

Hot temperatures quickened the ripening of grain, but stormy weather halted combines across North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

But ground is being made up fast in some parts. Ken Nichols, extension agent in Traill County, estimated 75 percent of the spring wheat there was combined by Monday afternoon.

Some combines in Grand Forks County were rolling by 10 a.m. Monday, as windy, drier weather blew in over the weekend.

But only about 1 percent of the spring wheat in Cavalier County has been harvested, said Ron Beneda, extension agent. The good growing season has helped the lush crop mature slowly.

Rains last week left about 85 percent of North Dakota’s topsoil with adequate to surplus moisture, the USDA reported; only a wedge from Bismarck down to Bowman and south is short of topsoil moisture.

Meanwhile, row crop ripening is ahead of schedule in North Dakota, with 60 percent of the corn in dough stage, compared to 37 percent in the norm for the date; 54 percent of the soybeans are fully podded, compared to 42 percent by Aug. 15 in the normal range. Dry edible beans are 70 percent fully podded in North Dakota by Sunday, compared with 43 percent on average from 2005-2009 by the same date.

Minnesota’s corn and soybeans promise to come in at record levels, USDA reported last week.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com.

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