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Corn crops were ranging from knee-high to waist-high in early July in the New Rockford, N.D., area, with the help of timely, plentiful rains. Mikkel Pates / Agweek

Another important August ahead for crop development

Many Upper Midwest farmers, at least the ones who grow wheat, corn and soybeans, typically face a quandary in August. They want dry weather to make the wheat harvest easier, but also want regular rains during the month to replenish soil moisture for still-developing corn, and especially, soybeans.

That looks to hold true again this year, even though corn and soybean development remains far behind normal.

The weekly crop progress, released July 29 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that corn and soybeans continue to be far less advanced than usual.

The report reflects conditions as of July 28.

The cold, wet spring hampered planting, which explains why corn and soybeans, especially in South Dakota, which was particularly wet, aren't as advanced as they should be. In South Dakota, for example, only 27% of corn had silked on July 29, compared with the five-year average of 77% for that date. Minnesota and North Dakota corn silking was below normal, too, though not nearly as much.

In general, spring wheat, which usually is planted before corn and soybeans, is relatively close to its normal development in much of the region, though not in South Dakota.

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

Spring wheat

Montana: 96% of the crop had headed as of July 28, the same as the five-year average; 64% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

Minnesota: 100% of the crop had headed as of July 28, compared with the five-year average of 98% for that date; 83% of wheat was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor. Most of Minnesota's wheat is in the northwest part of the state, which generally has enjoyed good planting and growing seasons.

North Dakota: 98% of the crop had headed as of July 28, compared with the five-year average of 97% for that date; 78% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: 94% of wheat had headed as of July 28, compared with the five-year average of 100% for that date; 65% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

Corn

Minnesota: 54% of corn had silked as of July 28, compared with the five-year average of 81% for that date; 56% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

North Dakota: 38% of the crop had silked as of July 28, down from the five-year average of 52% for that date; 75% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: 37% of corn had silked as of July 28, compared with the five-year average of 77% for that date; 61% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

Soybeans

North Dakota: 71% of soybeans had bloomed as of July 28, down from the five-year average of 85% for that date; 65% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: 53% of beans had bloomed as of July 28, compared with the five-year average of 80% for that date; 50% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

Minnesota: 69% of the crop had bloomed as of July 28, compared with the five-year average of 85% for that date; 60% of the crop was in good or excellent condition, the rest fair to very poor.