Scant progress on planting as mid April arrives
Most affected so far are spring wheat, oats and barley; the three typically fare best when planted early and consequently are planted before other crops such as corn and soybeans.
Rhonda Larson is a big believer in spring wheat. She's raised it on her farm for decades and promotes its use worldwide as vice chairwoman of U.S. Wheat, which work to strengthen global demand for wheat
But the East Grand Forks, Minn., farmer hasn't planted any wheat yet this spring. Nor does know when she might start — and can't even be sure she'll be able to plant any at all.
"We just have to do whatever Mother Nature allows us to do," said Larson, whose northwest Minnesota farm was hit with major precipitation last fall and heavy snow over the winter, leaving soggy fields and some 2019 crops still unharvested this spring. On the mid-April day that she talked with Agweek, intermittent snow squalls occasionally filled the air with big, heavy snowflakes.
Larson's farm is an extreme, but not unrepresentative, example of the challenges facing area farmers. From Iowa to Montana and from southern South Dakota to North Dakota's border with Canada, planting is far behind schedule this soggy spring. Most affected so far are spring wheat, oats and barley; the three typically fare best when planted early and consequently are planted before other crops such as corn and soybeans.
The weekly crop progress report, released April 13 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, confirmed the scant planting progress this spring. Here's a closer look. Remember, the report doesn't cover every crop in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, only those states in which that particular crop is prominent
Small amounts of oats have been planted in Minnesota and South Dakota; 5% in South Dakota, compared with an average of 22% for mid-April, with 3% planted in Minnesota, down from an average of 9% for mid-April. No oats had been planted yet in North Dakota.
Small amounts of barley have been planted in Minnesota and Montana; 3% in Montana, down from an average of 11% in mid-April, with 1% planted in Minnesota, down from an average of 3% in mi-April. No barley was planted yet in North Dakota.
Small amounts of spring wheat have been planted in South Dakota and Montana. Six percent of South Dakota spring wheat was in the ground in mid-April, down from an average of 24% for that time. In Montana, 2% of the crop was planted in mid-April, down from an average of 7% for that time. No spring wheat was planted in North Dakota or Minnesota.
Corn, soybeans, sugar beets
Planting of these crops hadn't begun yet in mid-April. In a normal year, small amounts of corn and sugar beets would be in the ground.