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Published August 04, 2014, 09:41 AM

Farmers will need storage

The region’s crops are largely on-track, with wheat harvest starting in South Dakota and moderate rainfall totals through much of the region.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

The region’s crops are largely on-track, with wheat harvest starting in South Dakota and moderate rainfall totals through much of the region.

National Agricultural Statistics Service reported crop progress and conditions July 28.

North Dakota corn silking was 34 percent complete, up 24 percent from the previous week and below the five-year average of 52 percent for the date. Corn conditions are 78 percent good to excellent, with 34 percent silking, compared with a 52 percent average. About 72 percent of the soybeans in the state are blooming, compared with a 77 percent average, and 76 percent were in good to excellent condition. Barley was 81 percent good to excellent. Pasture and range are 86 percent good to excellent. About 25 percent of the canola was turning color, compared with the 29 percent average for the date, and the crop condition was pegged at 84 percent good to excellent. Potatoes are slightly behind average at 58 percent good to excellent.

Montana pasture and range conditions are near five-year averages, with 52 percent good to excellent. Subsoil moisture is 58 percent adequate to surplus. Barley, canola, spring wheat and winter wheat are all ahead of five-year averages for ripening, while flaxseed, oats and durum are somewhat behind. Crop percentages in the good to excellent categories remained strong: barley, 55 percent; dry peas, 68 percent; oats, 60 percent; durum wheat, 62 percent; spring wheat, 59 percent; and winter wheat, 66 percent. About 94 percent of the winter wheat was turning ripe, while 52 percent of the barley is ripening.

South Dakota’s winter wheat was 18 percent harvested, compared with a five-year average of 55 percent for the date. Corn conditions were 74 percent good to excellent, with 70 percent silking, compared with a 50 percent average for the date. Soybeans in the state were 71 percent blooming, compared with a 76 percent average, with crop condition rated 68 percent good to excellent.

Minnesota crop development is behind. The southwest part of the state needs rain, while farmers in northern towns such as Crookston and Hallock received more than an inch of rain in the early part of the week. Topsoil moisture is 86 percent adequate to surplus, while subsoil moisture is 93 percent adequate to surplus. Crop percentages in the good to excellent categories included: barley, 49 percent; corn, 68 percent; oats, 67 percent; pasture, 73 percent; soybeans, 64 percent; spring wheat, 53 percent; hay, 66 percent; potatoes, 84 percent; sugar beets, 29 percent; dry edible beans, 51 percent; sunflowers, 38 percent. Spring wheat is 36 percent coloring, compared with a five-year average of 59 percent. Corn is 61 percent silking, compared with a 71 percent average. Soybeans are right at average, with 74 percent blooming and 26 percent setting pods.

Area farmers tell Agweek they’re optimistic about the crop, but concerned about prices.

More storage

STEELE, N.D. — Tyson Bodvig, 25, of Steele, N.D., has been farming eight years and raises corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and sunflowers. He says more farmers are getting into canola in his area.

“There’s some prevent-plant around here, but not as much as we expected in the beginning,” Bodvig says. He planted 95 percent of what he expected to plant, and as much corn as he had before. It was a tough decision to stick with the corn because of the drop in prices, and the prices still aren’t going back up.

Basis deductions at the elevators were remaining around $1 to $1.15 per bushel for grains off Chicago Board of Trade prices.

“Not a good deal,” he says. “We got all of last year’s corn still sitting in the bin, waiting for prices.”

He says he didn’t add as much storage as he maybe should have.

“We didn’t order a bin, but we’ve ordered a bagger,” Bodvig says, referring to plastic bag storage systems. “I’ve heard great things about them.”

He expects wheat and oat harvests to start the first week of August.

Bodvig says soybeans were a bit behind in early July, but caught up by the end of July. He hadn’t had any aphid problems — yet.

Reseeding reasoning

SAVAGE, Mont. — Elwin Prevost is mostly retired and rents out much of his farm to Craig McPherson and his family near Savage, Mont., but puts up some hay for a trucking company. Prevost farmed more in the past, but he says the crop looks good so far, with plenty of rain and no hail yet.

“The wheat is starting to ripen up,” Prevost says. “It’s probably going to be a couple of weeks until combining. Sugar beets are looking pretty good, from what I’ve seen.”

He was making a first cutting of alfalfa in early July and at the end of the month was still pondering whether to reseed it.

“I might clip it down again and see what happens,” he says. He’d gotten little rain through July, except for half an inch at the end of last month.