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Casselton cereal crop looks good, despite late planting

The region got a late start to planting this year due to steady rainfall. Despite that, the cereal crop in the Casselton, North Dakota, area is still looking strong, according to this stop on the Agweek Crop Tour.

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The spring wheat crop on NDSU Seed Farm is standing in favorable condition, despite the late planting date. Photo taken July 18, 2022 in Casselton, North Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek
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CASSELTON, N.D. — After the region experienced severe drought last spring and summer, it was an entire 180 as farmers and producers struggled to get into the fields due to excess moisture this spring. Though the late planting season weighed heavy on some and raised concerns about overall quality in cereals, fields of both spring wheat as well as winter wheat have cleared up the worries.

“We definitely had a late start. It was one of the wettest springs on record,” said Clair Keene, North Dakota State University agronomist. “A lot of farmers I have spoken with are really surprised that despite the late planting, the crop maturity has really just sped right along.”

Keene said that the slew of hot and steamy days pushed the spring wheat field to grow at a faster rate than seen in some growing seasons, due to having more growing degree days. On a field of ND Heron, a new NDSU spring wheat variety, she estimates that despite the crop being pushed and not having the same amount of time to develop, the overall yields will be average.

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Clair Keene observes the spring wheat crop planted on the NDSU Seed Farm. Photo taken July 18, 2022, in Casselton, North Dakota.
Emily Beal / Agweek

“This crop looks pretty good, but things are perhaps just a little bit accelerated so the plant didn’t have as much time to do photosynthesis and put on as much vegetative growth as we’d like to see with those hot temps,” Keene said.

As for disease, bacterial leaf streak has been a problem for producers in the area. Fungicides have no control over bacterial leaf streak, making it a hard disease to get a handle on. The high winds, excessive moisture and shredded leaves have made it a conducive environment for bacterial leaf streak.

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Though it is not as popular in the area, Keene said more and more producers have been considering growing winter wheat in their acres. She said there was an abundance of interest about winter wheat this year in particular, due to the extensive number of acres in prevented planting .

“It’s a great way to spread your risk over different seasons. We’re expecting this to be a pretty good year for winter wheat if you were able to plant in last fall,” Keene said. “In a year like this where we have excess moisture and we have prevented plant acres, people are looking for something they can get in.”

The winter wheat would help take the excess moisture out of the soil in wet years like the region experienced earlier this spring and summer. Keene also said that winter wheat would act as a good forage source for those raising cattle.

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