Snail's pace on planting progress continues
Planting still lags behind the five-year average across the region.
Steven Edwardson isn't worried yet. But he sure would appreciate a stretch of warm, dry weather to jump-start planting.
"It's been minimal progress. We don't need any moisture for a while," said Edwardson, executive administrator of the North Dakota Barley Council. On the mid-April day that he talked with Agweek, light snow was falling outside his West Fargo office.
As of April 19, 0% of North Dakota barley had been planted, down from the five-year average of 6% for that date, according to the weekly crop progress released April 20 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Montana and Minnesota are behind on barley planting, too. Minnesota farmers had planted just 2% of their barley, down from an average of 14% for mid-April. Montana producers had 4% of their barley in the ground, down from an average of 24% for mid-April.
A cool, wet spring, following an exceptionally wet fall of 2019 and snow-filled winter of 2019-20, has put planting in general behind schedule. But barley is one of the first crops to be planted each spring, so the slow start could be troublesome. Later planting exposes barley to more late-summer heat, which can hurt yield.
North Dakota barley can be planted with relative safely until the middle of May, so there's no need to get seed in the ground immediately. Even so, "The sooner it's planted, the better," Edwardson said.
Here's a closer look at what the April 20 report had to say on other crops:
Minnesota — One percent of Minnesota spring wheat was planted on April 19, compared with the five-year average of 21% for that date.
Montana — Three percent of Montana spring wheat was in the ground on April 19, compared with the five-year average of 17% for that date.
North Dakota — One percent of spring wheat in the state was planted on April 19, compared with the five-year average of 9% for that date.
South Dakota — Nine percent of South Dakota spring wheat was planted on April 19, compared with the five-year average of 40% for that date.
No corn is planted in North Dakota or South Dakota. One percent of the crop is in the ground in Minnesota, 2% in Iowa.
No soybeans have been planted in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota. They're typically among the last crops to be planted each spring.
Minnesota — Two percent of sugar beets in Minnesota was planted on April 19, down from the five-year average of 29% for that date.
North Dakota — Zero percent of North Dakota sugar beets was in the ground on April 19, down from the five-year average of 21% for that date.