North Dakota farmers make huge strides in planting catch-up

Farmers across the region have made swift planting progress. In North Dakota, where planting has been particularly slow, things finally are moving in the right direction.

A sugarbeet plant begins to emerge from the soil.
A sugarbeet emerges from the soil in the Snake River Sugarbeet Growers Association in mid-April 2022.
Contributed / Brad Griff

Farmers in North Dakota made good use of pleasant weather conditions in the past week, nearly catching up to normal progress on some crops and surpassing normal progress on others.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's May 22 Crop Progress report showed swift progress across the region, with North Dakota farmers in particular catching up after a cold, wet spring.

Sugarbeets, for example, were off to a slow start in the state, with just 1% planted by May 7, a point in which typical progress would be 44%. A week later, they were at 60%, just behind the average of 64%. But by the report released May 22, reflecting conditions for May 21, North Dakota sugarbeet farmers were 90% finished with planting — blowing past the average of 79% for the date.

Minnesota — the top sugarbeet producing state — also showed big gains, ending up at 94% completed, compared to an average of 78%. Overall, the top four sugar producing states — including Idaho and Michigan — were 95% finished planting, compared to an average of 84%. Idaho is 100% planted, while Michigan is 97%.

In corn, North Dakota farmers now are 32% done planting, compared to an average of 50%. Minnesota farmers are at 80%, just ahead of the average of 78%. South Dakota is at 76%, compared to an average of 63%. Iowa farmers are nearly done planting corn, with 95% planted compared to an average of 87%.


In soybeans, North Dakota farmers made big progress, going from 2% planted last week to 20% this week, compared to an average of 33%. Minnesota farmers are nearly up to average with 53% planted compared to 57%. Iowa farmers again are ahead with 84% compared to an average of 66%. South Dakota progress has been swift, too, with 56% completed compared to 39% on average.

Spring wheat planting continues to lag in North Dakota, with 48% planted compared to the average of 65%. Spring wheat planting in Montana has been a bit slow, too, with 72% completed compared to 78% on average. Minnesota, though, has moved to 74% done, compared to an average of 71%. South Dakota also is ahead with 95% planted, compared to an average of 90%.

Jenny Schlecht is the director of ag content for Agweek and serves as editor of Agweek, Sugarbeet Grower and BeanGrower. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at or 701-595-0425.
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