After several years of wet, cool springs, Tim Dufault is enjoying this one. Despite being shut down temporarily in mid-April by a spate of cold, snowy weather, the Crookston, Minn., farmer has made good planting progress since then.

"We're really moving along now," said Dufault, who expected to finish planting his spring wheat by the end of April.

He's not alone. Upper Midwest farmers on balance are making good progress planting their crops this spring, though some agricultural producers aren't getting seed into the ground as quickly as they'd like, according to the weekly crop progress report released April 26 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report reflected conditions on April 25.

Though generalizing can be risky, the planting pace for most crops is above or close to their respective five-year averages. The latter are widely used in area agriculture because they give a broader, more useful perspective. Still, treat the five-year averages carefully; they partially reflect several recent cold, wet springs that hampered and delayed planting.

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Wheat now, soybeans next

Like many farmers across the region, Dufault was hit by a mid-April storm that bought varying amounts of snow or rain. Though the moisture was welcome, the storm was followed by a cold stretch that prevented fields from drying and farmers from getting out into them.

Unlike many of those farmers, Dufault received snow that, after it melted, produced about an inch of precipitation — enough to help fields that had been too dry. Just as importantly as the precipitation, the moisture sunk into the soil rather than running off, Dufault said.

Now, there's moisture in fields, though "it's not like it's been at times in the past few years, when water has been oozing out of the soil," he said.

Having his spring wheat in the ground by the end of April is a victory. Next up is soybeans, which he hasn't started planting yet.

"It's been too early for soybeans, but we're looking forward to getting going on them," he said.

Here's a crop-by-crop look at at planting progress across the region. All numbers reflect conditions on April 25. Though all the crops are important, the planting pace for spring wheat, corn and soybeans, the region's three major crops, are watched particularly closely.

Corn

Minnesota — 3% is planted, down from the five-year average of 4%.

North Dakota — 3% is planted, compared with the five-year average of 0%.

South Dakota — 1% is planted, the same as the five-year average.

Iowa — 4% is in the ground, down from the five-year average of 5%.

Oats

Iowa — 88% was planted, up from the five-year average of 69%.

Minnesota — 42% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 26%.

North Dakota — 7% was planted, down from the five-year average of 9 %.

South Dakota — 53% was planted, up from the five-year average of 38%.

Sugarbeets

North Dakota — 28% of the crop was planted, down from the five-year average of 29%.

Minnesota — 15% of the crop was in the ground, down sharply from the five-year average of 19%.

Soybeans

Iowa — 6% was planted, double the five-year average.

Minnesota — 2% was planted, double the five-year average.

North Dakota — 1% was in the ground, compared with the five-year average of 0%,

Spring wheat

Minnesota — 19% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 14%.

Montana — 20% was planted, down from the five-year average of twenty-two%.

North Dakota — 22% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 10%.

South Dakota — 62% was planted , up from the five-year average of 39%.

South Dakota — 46% was planted, up from the five-year average of 26%.

Barley

Minnesota — 12% of the crop was planted, up from the five-year average of 11%.

Montana — 28% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 24%.

North Dakota — 14% was planted, up from the five-year average of 4%.