Erik Younggren was hoping for roughly an inch of rain in early June. But the Hallock, Minn., farmer and his neighbors received four to five times that amount in a thunderstorm, clouding what had been "a good mood in Kittson County."
"We just didn't want this much," said the northwest Minnesota farmer. "But we know there are other areas of the Red River Valley (of western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota) where conditions are worse."
Though crop conditions vary greatly across the Upper Midwest, the overall outlook is relatively strong, according to the weekly crop progress report released June 8 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report reflected conditions on June 7.
Corn and soybeans generally are faring well in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, but not quite so well in North Dakota, where planting was slowed by uncooperative weather.
For example, all of Minnesota's corn was planted by June 7, compared with the five-year average of 97 % for that date. with 97% emerged by June 7, up from an average of 89% for that date. And 83% of the crop was rated good or excellent, with 15% in fair shape and 2% rated poor.
The report also gave a better picture of spring wheat. Just 5% of North Dakota's spring wheat crop remained unplanted on June 7, with 2% unplanted in both Minnesota and Montana. Early June is usually the cut-off for planting spring wheat, a cool-season grass, so it's likely few, if any, of the remaining acres will be planted.
The heavy rains in northwest Minnesota's Kittson County were yet another reminder that weather ultimately dictates crop progress -- and that a positive attitude can help ag producers make the best of a less-than-ideal situation.
Kittson County farmers dealt with severe spring flooding and cool conditions in May, with fledgling crops doing as well as could be expected in early June before the recent thunderstorm. Though the new moisture was unwelcome, Younggren tried to remain upbeat.
"They (fields hit with heavy rains) look a little better now than they did this earlier this morning," Younggren said on the day after the thunderstorm. "And they'll look a little better tomorrow," provided more precipitation doesn't fall.
Farmers in his area have experience in removing water from drenched fields, which will help after the latest downpour, he said.
"The mood is still OK in Kittson County," Younggren said.
Here's a closer look at crop progress across the region.
Montana: 84% of the crop was rated good or excellent, with 14% fair and 2% poor.
Minnesota: 83% was in good or excellent shape, with 17% rated fair.
North Dakota: 84% was rated good or excellent, 15% fair and 1% poor.
South Dakota: 64% was in good or excellent condition, with 35% rated fair and 1% rated poor.
Iowa: 85% was in good or excellent shape, with 14% rated fair and 1% poor.
Minnesota: 83% was rated good or excellent, 15% fair and 2% poor.
North Dakota: 77% was in good or excellent condition, 19% fair and 4% poor.
South Dakota: 82% was rated good or excellent, 18% fair.
South Dakota: 84% was in good or excellent condition, 16% fair.
North Dakota: 75% was rated good or excellent, the rest fair.
Minnesota: 84% was in good or excellent shape, 15% fair and 1% poor.
Iowa: 82% was rated good or excellent, 17% fair and 1% poor.