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Published June 02, 2014, 09:25 AM

RRV farmers are busy planting

The last week of May involved a race with the calendar as farmers finally saw a run of fit conditions for planting corn and other crops. Tiling, fertilizer application and seeding were under way heavily in the north-central Red River Valley when Agweek visited on May 27.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

The last week of May involved a race with the calendar as farmers finally saw a run of fit conditions for planting corn and other crops. Tiling, fertilizer application and seeding were under way heavily in the north-central Red River Valley when Agweek visited on May 27.

Tiling slow, picking up

ARGUSVILLE, N.D. — Drain tile operators are working to complete jobs for farmers still counting on planting crops on newly tiled fields this year.

“It’s been slow going, but things are picking up,” says Dana Gunderson, a plow operator for Agassiz Drain Tile Inc. of Buxton, N.D., while putting in 3-inch laterals near Argusville, N.D. “Farmers are trying to get into the fields.”

Getting past the mud

CUMMINGS, N.D. — Henry Meine who works for Columbia Grain of Climax, Minn., and Cummings, N.D., stops for a few moments at a field approach, after spreading urea and phosphates. Several fields are extremely muddy, but it’s been getting better as time has gone on, Meine says.

“We were behind, but we’re catching up pretty good now,” he says. His company had no problems with fertilizer availability, despite earlier concerns.

Corn wrapping up

GILBY, N.D. — Tim Larson and Dan Sletten operate a Pioneer seed dealership about six miles west of Gilby, N.D. Larson estimates 90 percent of the planned corn planting is either wrapped up or stopped. Based on conversations and the amount of seed that was ordered but never delivered, he thinks about a fourth to a third of the planned corn hadn’t gone into the ground as of May 27.

“Those that are keeping on (with corn) are probably switching to our earlier varieties,” Larson says. “We’ve got a really nice looking 76-day corn variety, so people have switched over to that. There are one or two die-hards that are still hanging in there with some 82-day stuff.”

Larson’s customers were just getting into the swing of things on soybeans — certainly less than 25 percent, he figures.

“We’re in a very good planting season for soybeans.” He says there have been some last-minute orders of sunflowers, which can be planted quite late.

“I think a few guys have kind of hung onto some wheat acres,” he says. “They ran as hard as they could with corn and got those acres in where the ground was ready. They probably jumped in with some wheat, to get those planted in a timely fashion, and now moving into soybeans and dry beans.”

Switch to dry beans

NORTHWOOD, N.D. — Grady Thorsgard says his family had about 80 percent of their wheat planted as of May 27, about 70 percent of the soybeans, and they were done with the corn.

“We’re just going to start on dry beans,” Thorsgard says.

The family backed off corn acres by 20 percent this year because of the late season and marketing and storage concerns. Railroad difficulties in handling grain shipping demand and the effect on basis at the region’s elevators caused them to cut back.

“I don’t have a lot of home storage, and I usually deliver mostly to the elevator. And it sounded probably like they weren’t going to have a lot of room,” Thorsgard says. “I cut back a little (on corn) because of that.”

Planting has been tough with the late spring of 2014.

“You don’t have enough equipment and not enough men to keep everything going, but we’ve been doing good — finding dry ground,” Thorsgard says. The family’s farm is somewhat spread out, which helps for finding ground that is dry enough.

Planting progress

The National Agricultural Statistics Service on May 27 reported on crop progress and conditions:

• North Dakota — 5.5 days were suitable for fieldwork during the previous week, with 98 percent topsoil rated adequate or surplus. Winter wheat rated 3 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 39 percent good and 2 percent excellent.

Durum wheat was 37 percent planted, compared with 60 percent for the five-year average and 10 percent emerged, compared with a 35 percent average.

Spring wheat was 59 percent planted, compared with a 73 percent average and 26 percent emerged, compared with a 46 percent average. Barley was 56 percent planted, compared with a 67 average and 17 percent emerged, compared with a 40 percent average. Oats were 66 percent planted, compared with a 73 percent average and 28 percent emerged, compared with a 46 percent average.

Canola was 45 percent planted, compared with a 63 percent average and 11 percent emerged, compared with a 32 percent average. Flaxseed was 21 percent planted, compared with a 45 percent average.

Dry peas were 63 percent planted, compared with a 78 percent average and 15 percent emerged, compared with a 43 percent average. Dry beans were 13 percent planted, compared with a 32 percent average.

Potatoes were 19 percent planted, compared with a 56 percent average and 2 percent emerged, compared with a 12 percent average.

Sugar beets were 78 percent planted, behind the 92 percent average. Corn was 67 percent planted, compared with a 75 percent average and 13 percent emerged, compared with a 36 percent average.

Soybeans were 31 percent planted, compared with a 45 percent average. Sunflowers were 13 percent planted, compared with a 23 percent average.

• Minnesota — five days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture was 96 percent adequate to surplus.

Oats were 85 percent planted, compared with a 92 percent average and 48 percent emerged, compared with a 76 percent average.

Barley was 63 percent planted, compared with an 87 percent average and 21 percent emerged, compared with a 61 percent average.

Spring wheat was 67 percent planted, compared with an 88 percent average and 20 percent emerged, compared with a 61 percent average.

Corn was 81 percent planted, compared with a 92 percent average and 32 percent emerged, compared with a 63 percent average.

Soybeans were 49 percent planted, compared with a 67 percent average and 6 percent emerged, compared with a 21 percent average.

Potatoes were 69 percent planted, compared with an 88 percent average.

Dry beans were 13 percent planted, compared with a 46 percent average. Sunflowers were 11 percent planted, well below the 48 percent average.

Sugar beets were 86 percent planted, compared with a 94 percent average.

• South Dakota — 6.3 days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture was 84 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Winter wheat condition was 28 percent jointed and condition ranked 6 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 56 percent good and 2 percent excellent.

Spring wheat was 89 percent planted, compared with a 97 percent five-year average and 59 percent emerged, compared with an 82 percent average.

Oats were 90 percent planted, compared with a 95 percent average, and 64 percent emerged, compared with an 80 percent average. Condition was 76 percent good to excellent.

Barley was 72 percent planted, compared with a 92 percent average and 25 percent emerged, compared with a 67 percent average.

Corn was 90 percent planted, compared with an 86 percent average and 48 percent emerged, equal to the average.

Soybeans were 64 percent planted, compared with a 49 percent average and 20 percent emerged, compared with a 15 percent average.

Sorghum was 22 percent planted, compared with a 25 percent average and 1 percent emerged, compared with a 5 percent average.

Sunflowers were 12 percent planted, compared with the 14 percent average.

• Montana — 5.9 days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil and subsoil moisture was 85 percent adequate or surplus.

Barley was 96 percent planted, compared with an 89 percent average and 68 percent emerged, compared with a 57 percent average.

Canola was 91 percent planted, compared with an 84 percent average and 40 percent emerged, compared with a 41 percent average.

Corn was 73 percent planted, compared with a 79 percent average and 43 percent emerged, just below the 40 percent average.

Dry beans were 79 percent planted, compared with a 50 percent average and 17 percent emerged, compared with a 15 percent average.

Dry peas were 93 percent planted, compared with an 89 percent average and 60 percent emerged, compared with a 50 percent average. Condition was rated 75 percent good to excellent.

Flaxseed was 87 percent planted, compared with a 68 percent average and 28 percent emerged, compared with a 26 percent average.

Lentils were 92 percent planted, compared with an 88 percent average and 30 percent emerged, compared with a 45 percent average.

Oats were 79 percent planted, compared with a 79 percent average and 39 percent emerged, compared with a 53 percent average.

Potatoes were 35 percent planted, compared with a 66 percent average and 12 percent emerged, compared with a 16 percent average.

Sugar beets were 75 percent emerged, compared with a 61 percent average. Condition was rated 77 percent good to excellent.

Spring wheat was 90 percent planted, compared with an 84 percent average and 58 percent emerged, compared with a 55 percent average.

Winter wheat was 7 percent in the boot stage, compared with an 18 percent average. Condition was rated 68 percent good to excellent.

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