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Katie Pinke/Agweek

What a week for planting!

It's often said that modern equipment allows farmers to make rapid planting or harvest progress when the weather cooperates. What happened the week of May 7 confirms that.

In the week ending May 14, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana farmers made huge strides in getting their 2017 crop into the ground, according to the weekly crop progress report released May 15 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In some cases, farmers planted nearly half of their entire crop during the week. For example, South Dakota producers had 77 percent of their corn planted on May 14, compared with 32 percent a week earlier — or 45 percent of their corn crop in just one week.

The brisk planting pace in the week ending May 14 put producers near, or ahead of their five-year averages, which are skewed by unusually early planting starts in several recent years. Though the 2017 planting season got off to a relatively late start, the past week allowed farmers to catch up to even their skewed five-year averages.

Weather in the week ending May 14 was highly favorable for planting overall, according to the National Agricultural Statistic Service.

In both North Dakota and Montana, a whopping 6.4 days in the week were deemed "suitable for fieldwork." Minnesota (with 6.3 days fitting that designation) and South Dakota (6.2 days) fared nearly as well.

Here's a crop-by-crop look at planting progress.

Corn

Minnesota — 84 percent planted as of May 14, compared the five-year average of 70 percent and 35 percent on May 7.

North Dakota — 58 percent planted on May 14, compared with the five-year average of 53 percent and 23 percent on May 7.

South Dakota — 77 percent planted on May 14, compared with the five-year average of 66 percent and 32 percent on May 7.

Soybeans

Minnesota — 47 percent on May 14, compared with the five-year average of 40 percent and 4 percent on May 7.

North Dakota — 29 percent planted on May 14, up from the five-year average of 28 percent and 4 percent on May 7.

South Dakota — 29 percent planted on May 14, up from the five-year average of 26 percent and 5 percent on May 7.

Spring wheat

Minnesota — 93 percent planted on May 14, up from the five-average of 68 percent and 65 percent on May 7.

Montana — 77 percent planted on May 14, down from the five-year average of 78 percent but up from 46 percent a week earlier. Wet conditions slowed wheat planting in the state earlier this spring.

North Dakota — 72 percent planted on May 14, up from the five-year average of 63 percent and 45 percent a week earlier.

South Dakota — 99 percent planted on May 14, compared with the five-year average of 90 percent and 94 percent a week earlier.

Sugar beets

Minnesota — 99 percent planted on May 14, up from the five-year average of 77 percent and 78 percent on May 7.

North Dakota — 96 percent on May 14, up from the five-year average of 74 percent and 74 percent a week earlier.

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