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Crop conditions vary, even on same farm, in the Upper Midwest

As in previous weeks, Minnesota and South Dakota corn and soybeans generally are faring well, with North Dakota crops overall lagging those in adjacent states.

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Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC

Crop conditions vary greatly again this growing season across the Upper Midwest, sometimes even on the same farm.

Hazen, N.D., farmer John Weinand is proof of that. Exceptionally dry conditions in the first half of 2020, the driest six months on record, hurt his early planted crops, some of which already have been harvested. But heavy rains on June 30 have later-planted, still-to--be harvested crops in much better condition.

"They look pretty good," he said of late-planted crops such as corn and soybeans.

That variability also is reflected in the weekly crop progress report released Aug. 3 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report reflected conditions on Aug. 2.,

As in previous weeks, Minnesota and South Dakota corn and soybeans generally are faring well, with North Dakota crops overall lagging those in adjacent states. Uncooperative weather last fall and this spring worked against crops in North Dakota.

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Also as was the case previously, too much rain in places and too little rain in other places continues to work against spring wheat, especially in key-growing areas of North Dakota and South Dakota.

A few examples:

Eighty-five percent of Minnesota corn was in good or excellent shape, with 86% of South Dakota's soybean crop rated good or excellent.

But only 68% of North Dakota wheat and 66% of South Dakota wheat was rated good or excellent.

Weinand said yields of his early harvested barley, dry peas and winter wheat, though disappointing, would have been much worse without substantial precipitation in the fall of 2019. That precipitation recharged subsoil moisture, partially offsetting the paucity of precipitation in the first half of this year.

"Without that subsoil moisture, they (early crops) wouldn't have been worth harvesting," he said.

Weinand stressed that he's optimistic about later-planted crops, which benefited from the late June rains.

Here's what the latest crop progress report said about wheat, corn and soybeans, the region's three major crops. All numbers are for Aug. 2. Remember, statewide variations can mask major variations within that state.

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Spring wheat

Montana — 80% of the crop was rated good or excellent, 17% fair and 3% poor or very poor.

Minnesota — 76% was in good or excellent condition, 20% fair and 4% poor or very poor.

North Dakota — 68% was in good or excellent shape, 26% fair and 6% poor or very poor.

South Dakota — 66% was rated good or excellent, 25% fair and 9% poor or very poor.

Corn

Iowa —73% was in good or excellent condition, 21% fair and 6% poor or very poor; 44% of the crop had reached the dough stage.

Minnesota — 85% was rated good or excellent, 12% fair and 3% poor or very poor; 37% of the crop had reached the dough stage.

North Dakota — 72% was in good or excellent shape, 21% fair and 7% poor or very poor; 7% of the crop had reached the dough stage.

South Dakota — 86% was rated good or excellent, 11% fair and 3% poor or very poor; 32% of the crop had reached the dough stage.

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Soybeans

Minnesota — 84% was rated good or excellent, 13% fair and 3% poor or very poor; 74% of the crop had set pods.

North Dakota — 65% was in good or excellent shape, 29% fair and 6% poor or very poor; 55% of the crop had set pods.

South Dakota — 85% was rated good or excellent, 11% fair and 4% poor or very poor, 64% of the crop had set pods.

Iowa — 73% was in good or excellent condition, 21% fair and 6% poor or very poor; 70% of the crop had set pods.

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