Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published July 30, 2012, 10:38 AM

Rain helpful but spotty

The National Agricultural Statistics Service on July 22 confirmed what most farmers in the region can see up-close — it’s dry. Crop conditions in the last official report didn’t include rains that came to some of the region on July 25.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — The National Agricultural Statistics Service on July 22 confirmed what most farmers in the region can see up-close — it’s dry. Crop conditions in the last official report didn’t include rains that came to some of the region on July 25.

Adnan Akyuz, a North Dakota state climatologist based in Fargo, says a July 25 rain dropped badly needed moisture, but rains in the region were spotty. He noted rain totals ranged from 2.3 to 0.6 inches within several blocks in Fargo. Leonard, N.D., got 1.8 inches, while the Ekre, N.D., site a few miles away picked up 2.6 inches.

Akyuz says the rains didn’t affect the July 26 National Drought Monitor map because the index is based on agricultural effects. That includes dugout water and pasture conditions, which largely aren’t affected by rains. Many of the crops are in late stages, although some, such as corn, will be impacted for those who got rain.

Akyuz says the rain in a single shot of 2 inches is welcome, but won’t be enough to recharge soil. The Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has said it can’t make a rainfall prediction for the one- and two-month periods. It does, however, predict higher-than-normal temperatures.

Farmer Jerry Melvin, Buffalo, N.D., says his crops seem to have been hanging in with subsoil moisture, high humidity and dew, and that his corn is largely pollinated. Land farmed by he and sons, Jon and Randy, received up to a half-inch of rain.

David Roche, president of Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative of Wahpeton, N.D., says the rains came timely and widespread for his beet growers.

Here are trend highlights from the National Agricultural Statistics Service state-by-state summaries:

NORTH DAKOTA — Crop condition percentages in the good to excellent categories on July 22, compared with July 8: barley — 66 percent, down from 77 percent; durum — 59 percent, down from 83 percent; oats — 68 percent, down from 76 percent; canola — 66 percent, from 84 percent; corn — 58 percent, down from 74 percent; dry edible beans — 52 percent, down from 62 percent; potatoes — 68 percent, up from 62 percent; soybeans — 59 percent, down from 71 percent; sugar beets — 73 percent, up from 66 percent; sunflower — 69 percent, down from 83 percent.

Hay and pasture ranked only 27 percent and 29 percent in the good to excellent categories, respectively. Thirty-nine percent of hay and 36 percent of pasture and range had slipped into the poor to very poor categories.

Crop percentages reported harvested on July 22 included barley — 14 percent, durum — 3 percent and spring wheat — 9 percent. Crops were being harvested rapidly, however, and heat was accelerating maturity. Topsoil moisture was rated short to very short in 73 percent of the state.

SOUTH DAKOTA — Crop condition percentages in the good to excellent categories on July 22, compared with July 8: spring wheat — 39 percent, down from 58 percent; barley — 35 percent, down from 59 percent; corn — 31 percent, down from 60 percent; soybeans — 34 percent, down from 59 percent; sorghum — 19 percent, down from 41 percent; sunflower — 32 percent, down from 58 percent; alfalfa — 7 percent, down from 16 percent; cattle — 69 percent, down from 87 percent; range and pasture — 11 percent, down from 33 percent.

Harvest progress as of July 22 included winter wheat — 98 percent, barley — 21 percent, oats — 76 percent and spring wheat — 55 percent, but with fast progress. The entire state is short of moisture, but the northeast corner has been 2 inches behind since April 1. Only Madison and Mitchell reported being ahead of rainfall in crop season averages. Stock water supplies are short in 53 percent of the state. Feed supplies were 51 percent short or worse, and range and pasture conditions were pegged at 54 percent poor or worse.

MINNESOTA — Crop conditions as of July 22 in the good to excellent category, compared with July 8: pasture — 37 percent, down from 61 percent; oats — 63 percent, down from 72 percent; barley — 69 percent, down from 70 percent; spring wheat — 62 percent, up from 61 percent; sugar beets — 72 percent, down from 78 percent; sunflowers — 78 percent, down from 83 percent; corn — 61 percent, down from 77 percent; soybeans — 60 percent, down from 72 percent; potatoes — 87 percent, down from 90 percent; canola — 73 percent, up from 60 percent; dry beans — 64 percent, down from 68 percent.

Pastures slipped into poor or worse in 34 percent of the state, according to the report. Corn was ranked 11 percent in poor to very poor conditions and soybeans were 12 percent poor or worse. Harvest progress July 22 was advancing quickly, but had hit these percentages: oats — 41 percent; spring wheat — 17 percent; barley — 31 percent — far ahead of averages for those dates. Rainfall was highly variable, with much of northwest Minnesota at 2 inches to 3 inches below-average since April 1. The west central Minnesota town of Alexandria was 3 inches ahead, while Morris was 1.5 inches behind.

MONTANA — Crop condition percentages in the good to excellent categories on July 22, compared with July 8: barley — 41 percent, unchanged; oats — 43 percent, down from 40 percent; durum — 60 percent, down from 63 percent; spring wheat — 52 percent, up from 51 percent; winter wheat — 54 percent, down from 55 percent.

Some 3 percent of the barley and 11 percent of winter wheat was harvested as of July 8. Northeast and north-central Montana were mostly slightly ahead of average growing season precipitation.

Southeast Montana was about 1 to 2 inches of moisture down from the 1991 to 2000 normal in the report. The forecast in Montana called for above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.

Tags: