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Jonathan Knutson / Agweek

August: Both dry, wet conditions needed for crop development

The Upper Midwest 2019 crop season has reached awkward August, when the weather can never quite please area farmers. Ag producers want dry conditions to help small grain harvest, but also need rain to bolster other crops, particularly corn and soybeans.

The paradox is especially true this year, with the region's wheat harvest well behind schedule and both corn and soybeans less advanced than usual.

The weekly crop progress report, issued Aug. 19 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shows that crops will need favorable weather in coming weeks.

The report reflects conditions Aug. 18.

South Dakota's crops are particularly late this year. For example, only 27% of the state's spring wheat was harvested on Aug. 18; the five-year average for that date was 75%. And only 39% of the state's corn had reached the dough stage, down from the five-year average for that date of 70%.

Wheat, corn and soybeans, usually planted and harvested in that order, are the region's three major crops. Here's a closer look:

Spring wheat

Montana: 20% of the crop was harvested as of Aug. 18, compared with the five-year average of 44%.

Minnesota: 14% of wheat was combined as of Aug. 18, down from the five-year average of 55%.

North Dakota: 12% of wheat was harvested as of Aug. 18, compared with the five-year average of 43%.

South Dakota: 27% of the crop was harvested as of Aug. 18, compared with the five-year average of 75%.

Corn

Minnesota: 55% of the crop had reached dough stage as of Aug. 18, down from the five-year average of 74%; 55% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

North Dakota: 18% of corn had reached dough stage as of Aug. 18, compared with the five-year average of 58%; 73% of corn was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: 39% of corn reached dough stage as of Aug. 18, down from the five-year average of 70%; 62% was rated good or excellent condition, the rest fair to very poor.

Soybeans

North Dakota: 78% had set pods as of Aug. 18, down from the five-year average of 81%; 63% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: 59% had set pods as of Aug. 18, compared with the five-year average of 87%; 55% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

Minnesota: 87% had set pods as of Aug. 18, down from the five-year average of 92%; 60% of soybeans were rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.