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Published April 03, 2010, 12:00 AM

Time to pull the machinery from the shed

With slush and snow covering some of the area, fieldwork may seem far off but the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts this year’s start date at April 17.

By: Beth Wischmeyer, The Dickinson Press

With slush and snow covering some of the area, fieldwork may seem far off but the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts this year’s start date at April 17.

Farmers got started in the fields about May 2 last year, according to reports. From 2005-2009, the state five-year average starting date was April 20.

Mott-area producer Don Schaible said he hopes to be in the field within the next week or so, depending on moisture.

“Last year we were planting late, but we had some of the best yields in a long time,” he said. “The outlook is good.”

A long winter hampered much of the state, causing a later-than-normal start, according to the NASS. The average start date in 2008 was April 15, according to the USDA.

“We’ve been busy,” said Tate Schatz, service manager at Dakota Farm Equipment in Beach, adding he’s heard farmers say they want to be in the fields in a few weeks.

The business has been busy for a few months with farm equipment repair and maintenance. “It’s probably not going to slow down for a while,” he said.

When producers bring in their equipment depends on the weather, said Doug Maus, manager of West Plains Implement Co. in Dickinson.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity with people getting ready. The snowbanks are gone, of course,” Maus said Thursday. “This winter when (producers) couldn’t get things moved around, it seems to move a little bit later in the year.”

Maus estimates the business will be busy helping farmers prepare their equipment for quite some time.

“Everything from here on out is going to be purely weather-related,” Maus said. “We’ve got a lot of guys just getting started, pulling their equipment out of the shed or just starting to work on it in their yards.”

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