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Published April 25, 2009, 12:00 AM

Weather woes

As spring progresses, area farmers are slowing getting out in the field but farmers are hitting the fields at a more rapid pace in the western part of the state.

By: Beth Wischmeyer, The Dickinson Press

As spring progresses, area farmers are slowing getting out in the field but farmers are hitting the fields at a more rapid pace in the western part of the state.

Wet and muddy roads and fields have hampered fieldwork, pushing the expected statewide average starting date to May 2, according to the North Dakota Crop Livestock and Weather Report. This is three days later than the previous week’s estimate and over two weeks behind last year’s average starting date.

While soil temperatures have reached ideal numbers, planting completion is anyone’s call, said Patrick Carr, associate agronomist with North Dakota State University’s Dickinson Research Extension Center.

“I’m guessing there is some planting going on,” Carr said. “The soil temperatures are warm enough to plant, they were in the low 50s Thursday here in Dickinson, which was taken a few inches near the surface — it’s still pretty cold underneath.”

More farmers in the field in the Beach area, said Beach Cooperative Grain Company manager Paul Lautenschlager. The area didn’t see as much moisture as the rest of the state this spring.

“We got a pretty good start this week,” Lautenschlager said. “We’ve got about half going in the area right now. We’re definitely drier here than the rest of the state.”

Average soil temperatures on April 12 ranged from a low of 31 degrees to a high of 44, according to the report. Last year’s temperatures during the same period ranged from 31 to 48 degrees.

The DREC team has been planting with the recent nice weather, but Carr acknowledges new moisture received Thursday night won’t help things.

“It (the snow) is only going to impede planting in that it wets up the soil,” Carr said of Friday’s snow. “There isn’t really enough snow to make an impact.”

In the week ending April 12, the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Crop Progress showed none of the following had been planted: Corn, oats, barley, spring wheat and sugar beets. During the week ending April 19 last year, 1 percent, 12 percent, 9 percent, 14 percent and 3 percent had been planted respectively.

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