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Despite late planting east-central North Dakota corn crop approaching maturity

Jill Murphy, North Dakota State University Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Traill County, estimated that 2022 corn yields will be slightly above or slightly below the long-term average.

Jill pic 1.jpg
The corn crop in Traill County, North Dakota, will be harvested in a few weeks, estimated Jill Murphy, North Dakota State University Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Traill County.
Trevor Peterson / Agweek
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HILLSBORO, N.D. — After a late start getting in the ground, the corn crop in southern Traill County, North Dakota, caught up and is on track to be harvested by mid-October.

Rain, cold temperatures or both kept farmers out of their field this spring, said Jill Murphy North Dakota State University Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Traill County. The county’s corn wasn’t planted until May 15, 2022, or later, which is about two weeks later than is typical.

But warm, dry weather during the summer pushed the corn toward maturity and now it's "caught up," and, weather permitting, will be harvested in the next few weeks.

“You see how it’s getting some brown color,” Murphy said during a Sept. 19 tour of a corn field about five miles southeast of Hillsboro, North Dakota. “It’s getting to that leaf drop stage. That’s a big sign.”

Dented corn ear
Corn in Traill County, North Dakota, was denting and its leaves were turning brown in late September. Photo taken Sept. 19, 2022.
Trevor Peterson / Agweek

The warm, dry weather not only was beneficial for the corn’s growth, it also resulted in a healthy crop that had few disease or insect problems.

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Statewide in North Dakota, the corn crop also was on track to be harvested about when is typical.

As of Sept. 18, 76% of the corn was dented, 12% less than last year, but nearly the same as the five-year average, U.S. Agriculture Department National Statistics Service for North Dakota said. Twenty-six percent of the corn was mature, 14% less than was mature last year at that time, but near the 29% average, the statistics service said.

There are no statistics available for 2022 Traill County corn acreage. In 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available, Traill County farmers planted 39,500 acres and average county yields were 174 bushels per acre the agency said.

Murphy estimated that 2022 Traill County corn yields will be slightly below or slightly above the long-term average, but could vary greatly from field to field. Yields will depend on several factors, including soil type, when farmers plant the crop and whether fields received rains during critical periods of the growing season.

Test weights are expected to be near the average of 56 pounds per bushel, Murphy said.

Average statewide yields are estimated at 381 million bushels, down slightly from last year's production, NASS said. Area harvested for grain is estimated at 2.7 million acres, down 26% from 2021. The 2022 North Dakota average per yield is forecast at 141 bushels, up 36 bushels from last year.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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