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A farmer works around a wet area in a field north of Jamestown, N.D. in late May. John M. Steiner / Forum News Service

Corn, soybean planting still behind schedule

Upper Midwest farmers have made recent progress planting their crops — but not nearly as much as many producers wanted. As a result, some important, difficult decisions must soon be made.

The region's slow-to-start and often-delayed planting season did not enjoy a particularly good week overall in the seven days ending June 2, according to the weekly crop progress report released June 3 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

An exceptionally late spring, followed by frequent rain and occasional snow, put many area farmers far behind their normal planting pace.

South Dakota farmers have been hit the hardest. Only 14% of South Dakota soybeans were planted on June 2; the five-year average for that date was 82%. And farmers in the state — the nation's leading sunflower producer — had planted virtually no sunflowers on June 2; the five-year average for that date was 33%.

The week ending June 2, on balance, didn't provide area farmers the favorable conditions with which to narrow the planting gap. Two examples: In Minnesota, farmers planted only 10% of their projected corn crop during the week. In South Dakota, farmers planted only 8% of their projected soybean crop during the week.

Now, farmers with unplanted fields will need to consider planting faster-maturing crop varieties (which typically producer lower yields) or collecting prevented planting payments through federal crop insurance.

Here's a look at spring wheat, corn and soybeans, the region's three major crops.

Spring wheat

Montana: 93% of spring wheat was planted as of June 2, up from 83% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 96%.

Minnesota: 95% of spring wheat was in the ground as of June 2, up from 87% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 96%.

North Dakota: 93% of spring wheat was planted as of June 2, up from 82% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 95%.

South Dakota: 86% of spring wheat was planted as of June 2, up from 79% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 99%.

Corn

Minnesota: 76% of corn was planted on June 2, up from 66% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 98%.

North Dakota: 81% of corn was planted on June 2, up from 63% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 93%.

South Dakota: Just 44% of corn was in the ground, up from 25% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 96%.

Soybeans

North Dakota: 75 of soybeans was planted on June 2, up from 46% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 83%.

South Dakota: 14% of soybeans was in the ground on June 2, up from 6% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 82%.

Minnesota: 51% of soybeans was planted on June 2, up from 35% a week earlier. The five-year average for June 2 was 90%.

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