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USDA: Upper Midwest crops still look good

It's one of the most basic rules of Upper Midwest crop farming: Never count your bushels until they're in the bin. Too much can go wrong before harvest.

So use caution with the latest weekly crop progress report, released July 16 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its promising picture of 2018 Upper Midwest crops won't necessarily translate into big yields.

But even though overall conditions have slipped in the past week, the result of excess rains or high temperatures or both in some areas, crops in Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota still look good on balance, according to the report. It reflects conditions on July 15.

North Dakota crops are doing particularly well. South Dakota crops — hurt by poor planting conditions and more recently by heavy summer rains — are faring relatively poorly.

That's reflected in the corn crop.

In North Dakota, 88 percent of corn was rated good or excellent, with 11 percent fair and 1 percent poor.

In South Dakota, 69 percent of corn was in good or excellent shape, with 24 percent fair and 7 percent poor or very poor.

Conditions in Minnesota fell between those of its neighbors to the west. Seventy-seven percent of Minnesota corn was rated good or excellent, 16 percent fair and 7 percent poor or very poor.

Here's how the NASS report summarizes spring wheat and soybean conditions:

Spring wheat

Montana — Eighty percent was rated good or excellent, 16 percent fair and 4 percent poor or very poor.

Minnesota — Eighty-six percent was in good or excellent condition, 14 percent fair. Minnesota's spring wheat is concentrated in the northwest part of the state, which generally has enjoyed excellent growing conditions.

North Dakota — Eighty-three percent was rated good or excellent, 13 percent fair and 4 percent poor or very poor.

South Dakota — Fifty-one percent was in good or excellent shape, 36 percent fair and 13 percent poor or very poor.

Soybeans

Minnesota — Seventy-five percent was rated good or excellent, 19 percent fair and 6 percent poor or very poor.

North Dakota — Eighty-two percent was in good or excellent shape, 15 percent fair and 3 percent poor or very poor.

South Dakota — Sixty-three percent was in good or excellent condition, 29 percent fair and 8 percent poor or very poor.

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