Planting nationally continues to accelerate while the upper Midwest remains slow

While planting progress nationally continues to stay above pace, farmers in the upper Midwest continue to lag slightly behind the five-year average.

Dust rises behind a planter planting spring wheat in South Dakota.
Despite a recent blizzard, dust was rising behind a planter at Jorgensen Land and Cattle on April13, 2023, near Ideal, South Dakota.
Ariana Schumacher / Agweek

While planting progress nationally continues to stay above pace, farmers in the upper Midwest continue to lag slightly behind the five-year average.

Storms and wet condition continue to hold back progress, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Progress report released on Monday, April 24. Minnesota and North Dakota had less than a day each suitable for fieldwork, with 0.3 days and 0.5 days, respectively. Montana had 1.6 days, Iowa had 2.5 and South Dakota had 2.9.

Here's a look at some crop-specific statistics:


Nationally, sugarbeet planting is near average, with 17% planted compared to 22% in the five previous years. Michigan is at 49% planted for sugarbeets, compared to a five-year average of 30%, and Idaho is at 49%, compared to 30% on average.

However, farmers in the top sugarbeet producing states of Minnesota and North Dakota have yet to start seeding. Normally, they are at 8% and 3%, respectively, by this time.


Colorado reported 11% of sugarbeets planted, compared to 20% on average. Wyoming reported 3% planted, compared to 20% on average. Crop progress reports in Nebraska, Montana and Washington did not include sugarbeet planting progress. Information in Oregon's crop report indicated 56% planted as of April 16, compared to 70% by that date on average, but no updated information was listed.

Sugarbeets also are grown in California's Imperial Valley, but those were planted in the fall for harvest this year.


Oats planting, at 28% completed, was almost right on with the five-year average of 29%. That includes 10% in Iowa and 1% in Minnesota. No oats planting was reported in North Dakota or South Dakota.

Spring wheat

Spring wheat was 5% planted, according to the Crop Progress report, compared to a five-year average of 12%. North Dakota, the national leader in spring wheat acreage, registered just 1% progress, compared to the state's average of 6%. Montana and South Dakota reported 5% and 4% planted, respectively. Most spring wheat planting was confined to Washington and Idaho, which were at 48% and 26%, respectively.


Barley was 10% planted nationally, compared to the five-year average of 22%. That includes 29% in Idaho, 27% in Washington and 6% in Montana, but no progress was reported in Minnesota or North Dakota.


Corn planting, at 11%, remained just ahead of the average of 14% nationally. Iowa, the top corn acreage state, was at 10%, right on with the five-year average. That's up from 7% a week ago.

Elsewhere, Minnesota reported 1% of corn planted, compared to 8% on average. North Dakota and South Dakota each reported no corn planting, compared to averages of 1% and 2%, respectively.



Soybeans were 9% planted, compared to 4% on average. Iowa was at 5%, compared to 2% on average.

No progress was reported in Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota. That is typical for this time in North Dakota and South Dakota, while Minnesota usually has 1% of beans planted.

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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