Harvest pace picks up
Upper Midwest farmers took advantage of favorable weather the week of Sept. 15 to catch up on harvest. But producers still haven't combined as much of their spring wheat as normal, according to a report from the National Agricultural Statistics S...
Upper Midwest farmers took advantage of favorable weather the week of Sept. 15 to catch up on harvest. But producers still haven't combined as much of their spring wheat as normal, according to a report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, released Sept. 22.
Eighty-two percent of North Dakota spring wheat was harvested on Sept. 22, up from just 65 percent a week earlier. Even so, the 82-percent rate still trailed the five-year average of 91 percent harvested by Sept. 22.
Farmers in southwestern North Dakota, where planting was delayed by an exceptionally wet spring, have been particularly concerned about slow going this harvest season.
Only 25 to 30 percent of small grains in North Dakota's Stark and Billings counties were harvested by the middle of September, estimates Kurt Froelich, the two counties' extension agent.
On Sept. 22, in contrast, "There's more stubble than standing grain," he says.
Continued favorable weather would allow farmers in his area to further narrow the harvest gap, he says.
In Minnesota, 91 percent of spring wheat in the state was harvested on Sept. 22, up from just 74 percent a week earlier. The 91 percent rate, however, trailed the five-year average of 97 percent.
In Montana, farmers had harvested 81 percent of their spring wheat on Sept. 22, up from 73 percent a week earlier. Farmers in the state normally have harvested 85 percent of the crop by Sept. 22.
In South Dakota, 97 percent of spring wheat was harvested by Sept. 22; normally, the state's entire crop is harvested by then. Most of this year's unharvested grain is in a few wet pockets, particularly in the north-central part of the state.
The new NASS statistics also found that warm weather in the week of Sept. 15 helped to push along maturity of corn and soybeans in the Upper Midwest. Even so, corn and beans generally aren't as mature as usual, reflecting widespread late planting this spring.
Look for an expanded harvest update in the Sept. 29 print issue of Agweek.