They're harvesting corn in North Dakota's Barnes County. No, not 2020 crop; that won't be ready until fall. Farmers there are still combining 2019-crop corn, more than a year after it was planted.

"It's been slow going on harvest," said Monte Peterson, a Valley City, N.D., farmer.

Despite the ongoing harvest challenges in North Dakota, fledgling new crops are faring fairly well overall across much of the region, according to the weekly crop progress report released June 22 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report reflected conditions on June 21.

A few examples: 85% of Iowa's corn crop is in good or excellent shape, as is 81% of South Dakota's soybean crop.

But Barnes County, in southeast North Dakota, isn't doing so well. Exceptionally difficult harvest conditions in the fall of 2019, which included two October snowstorms, hampered harvest, especially of corn, and pushed harvest of many fields into this spring. Some fields have been so soggy that combining still-standing crops has been difficult, if not impossible, Peterson said.

The unharvested fields, coupled with difficult planting conditions, will cause roughly 50% of acres in the county to go unplanted this crop season, Peterson estimated.

Valley City, N.D., farmer Monte Peterson (AgweekTV photo)
Valley City, N.D., farmer Monte Peterson (AgweekTV photo)
"In my immediate area, we're anywhere from 40% to 60% planted," he said. "Corn acres are down substantially because we just ran out of time to plant corn," which generally is planted before soybeans.

More than half of the projected corn is planted in some parts of the county, and less than half in others, he said.

On his own farm, he had planned to plant 1,900 acres of corn, but was able to get in only 160 acres.

Corn and soybeans are common in Barnes County, and some wheat is grown there, too.

All three crops generally were planted later than normal, so all three aren't as advanced as ideal, Peterson said.

"But soybeans are coming around. They look pretty good," as does wheat, he said.

The relatively small amount of corn that's planted — most of which went into fields that drain well — also is looking fairly good, he said.

But completing harvest of 2019 corn would be welcome indeed, Peterson said.

"I'd really like to finish and be done with it," he said, adding that 2019 corn harvested this summer is "marketable."

Here's a closer look at corn, wheat and soybeans across the Upper Midwest. All numbers reflect conditions on June 21. Remember, statewide average can mask substantial variation within that state.

Spring wheat

Montana — 85% was rated good or excellent, 14% fair and 1% poor.

Minnesota — 81% was in good or excellent condition, 15% fair and 4% poor or very poor.

North Dakota — 69% was rated good or excellent, 26% fair and 5% poor or very poor.

South Dakota — 77% was in good or excellent shape, 19% fair and 4% poor or very poor.

Corn

Iowa — 85% was rated good or excellent, 14% fair and 1% poor.

Minnesota — 85% was in good or excellent condition, 13% fair and 2% poor.

North Dakota — 69% was rated good or excellent, 28% fair and 3% poor or very poor.

South Dakota — 82% was in good or excellent shape, 16% fair and 2% poor or very poor.

Soybeans

Minnesota — 81% was rated good or excellent, 17% fair and 2% poor.

North Dakota — 70% was in good or excellent shape, 27% percent fair and 3% poor.

South Dakota — 81% was rated good or excellent, 17% fair and 2% poor.

Iowa — 84% was in good or excellent condition, 15% fair and 1% poor.