Brian O'Toole is a Crystal, N.D., farmer, seed dealer and pilot. What he's seeing on his own farm from the ground and in a bigger area of northeast North Dakota from his plane often are at odds.

"Planting is going well on our farm, but when I'm in the air I've seen areas where it isn't," he said.

That disparity isn't necessarily obvious in the weekly crop progress report released May 18 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report reflected conditions on May 17.

The report reconfirmed the excellent overall planting pace in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, as well as significant progress in Montana. But its finding that overall planting in North Dakota is far behind normal doesn't reflect major variations in the state.

On the mid-May day that O'Toole visited with Agweek, his family farm had planted 85% of its wheat, all of its sugar beets, was just finishing corn planting and was set to begin planting soybeans. Soybeans usually are planted later than the other crops, so there's no great concern over not having planted any yet.

In contrast, only 20% of corn and 41% of wheat was planted statewide in North Dakota in mid-May. Miserable conditions in the fall of 2019 and the winter of 2019-20 have hampered planting this spring in big chunks of the state.

Much of the soil in O'Toole's farming area "is very forgiving," meaning it doesn't hold water for long periods in a way that hampers planting, he said.

Even so, his farm is no stranger to wet conditions and planting/harvest difficulties, with 2016 being especially onerous. "So we understand what these guys who haven't been able to plant much are going through. We feel bad for them," O'Toole said.

Here's a closer state-by-state look at the report:

Spring wheat

Montana: 75% of spring wheat was planted by May 17, nearly the same as the five-year average of 77% for that date.

Minnesota: 70% of spring wheat was in the ground by May 17, down from the five-year average of 86% for that date.

North Dakota: 41% of the crop was planted by May 17, just slightly more than half of the five-year average of 76% for that date.

South Dakota: 91% of the crop was planted by May 17, compared with the five-year average of 41% for that date.

Corn

Iowa: 96% of the crop was planted by May 17, well above the five-year average of 82% for that date.

Minnesota: 95% of corn was in the ground by May 17, up from the five-year average of 77% for that date.

North Dakota: 20% of the crop was planted by May 17, far below the five-year average of 60% for that date.

South Dakota: 67% of the crop was planted by May 17, up from the five-year average of 59% for that date.

Soybeans

North Dakota: Just 9% of soybeans was planted by May 17, down sharply from the five-year average of 35% for that date.

South Dakota: 40% of soybeans was planted by May 17, up from the five-year average of 27% for that date.

Minnesota: 74% of beans was in the ground by May 17, up from the five-year average of 51%. for that date.

Iowa: 86% of the crop was planted by May 17, nearly double the five-year average of 45% for that date.

Sugar beets

Minnesota: 63% of beets was planted by May 17, down from the five-year average of 92% for that date.

North Dakota: 66% of the crop was planted by May 17, down from the five-year average of 96% for that date.