Cass County farmer on track with seed beans
CHAFFEE, N.D. -- Matt Poulson farms with his father and uncle near Chaffee, N.D., in southwest Cass County -- one of the biggest soybean acreage counties in the U.S.
CHAFFEE, N.D. - Matt Poulson farms with his father and uncle near Chaffee, N.D., in southwest Cass County - one of the biggest soybean acreage counties in the U.S.
Poulson was speeding toward completing 1,000 acres of seed soybeans in May and reckoned the Poulson Brothers were a bit ahead of the typical pace. In 2016 the Poulsons finished soybean planting on May 9 or 10, so this year they may be a day or two past that - perhaps finishing by May 11.
"We're definitely not behind by any means," Poulson says, noting sometimes soybeans are planted into June.
The farm already had their barley and sugar beets done - planted in cooler ground - then planted corn, sunflowers and finally soybeans. Farmers farther north had more rain and snow and were experiencing delays. The Poulsons acquired more sugar beet stock shares than in previous years and increased their barley acres.
"They're just starting to turn a wheel, while we got 550 acres of sugar beets in by April 15, so we've been more fortunate down here," he says. Conditions were dry enough that Poulson was using windshield wipers to keep the swirling dust off the back window. When it started spitting rain on May 8, Poulson indicated he wouldn't have minded parking the planter for a day or two if the dust would settle.
The Poulsons raise seed soybeans for a few companies - both standard Roundup-ready soybeans and, separately, non-GMO food grade soybeans.
"Next year they'll repackage these and sell them commercially to people in the area with these same varieties," he said.
Poulson says the early planting should bode well for the crop, but that's always a question. Many farmers have been losing money for the past couple of years, or would have if not for strong yields.
"You hear some stories of people not being able to get loans," he says. "Most farmers are cautiously optimistic this time of year. It's fun when you get the seed in the ground but there's that kind of dark cloud hanging over the ag industry with the prices, but that could all change if some places get way too much water or don't get any water for a long time. Things can change in a hurry."
The Poulsons were growing only corn and soybeans only four years ago. Now they've shifted into specialty crops that they get paid a premium on.
"It makes up that gap when you're getting those premiums," he says.
The seed growing market niche has become somewhat more popular in the region, with the lackluster commodity bean prices.
"We get paid a premium for growing these," Poulson says. "A lot of people try to get on the programs, but in many cases it's (available) if you've had a relationship for a few years. We're able to grow quite a few acres of them."
Here are state-by-state summaries of crop progress and condition as of the May 7 report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service:
Temperatures returned to above-normal around much of the state, and 6.5 days were suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture is 88 percent adequate to surplus and subsoil moisture is 91 percent adequate to surplus.
Soybeans were 4 percent planted, compared to a five-year average of 12 percent. Corn was 23 percent planted, behind the 34 percent average. Sugar beets were 74 percent planted, ahead of the 61 percent average. Potatoes are 15 percent planted compared to a 24 percent average.
Other planting compared to average: canola, 16 percent planted, 26 percent average; flaxseed, 16 percent planted, 17 percent average; dry edible peas, 50 percent, 39 percent average.
Spring wheat is 45 percent planted, 49 percent average; barley, 39 percent, 43 percent average; oats, 48 percent planted, 45 percent average. Winter wheat condition is 74 percent good to excellent, with 23 percent jointed, compared to a 31 percent average.
Pasture and range were rated 61 percent good to excellent, with stock water supplies at 95 percent.
A week that included some rain and snow, and some highs in the 80s and 90s saw planting progress with 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture is adequate to surplus in 76 percent of the state and subsoil is adequate or better in 73 percent of the state.
Corn is 32 percent planted compared to 43 percent for the five-year average; soybeans, 5 percent planted, 10 percent average;
Spring wheat is 95 percent planted, 81 percent average, with 59 percent ranked good to excellent condition. Oats are 94 percent planted, 82 percent average, with 63 percent ranked good to excellent condition. Barley is 89 percent planted, 72 percent average, with 45 percent emerged compared to 36 percent average. Winter wheat condition is ranked 59 percent good to excellent.
Pasture and range are 49 percent good to excellent, with stock water supplies 84 percent adequate to surplus.
There were 3.9 days suitable for field work, and farmers were spreading manure, tilling and planting. Topsoil moisture is 99 percent adequate to surplus; subsoil is 98 percent adequate to surplus. Temperatures were warmer than normal in the northwest and as much as 8 degrees below normal in the southeast.
Corn is 35 percent planted compared to a five-year average of 55 percent. Soybeans and sunflower were just getting started. Sugar beets are 78 percent planted compared to 63 percent average for the date. Potatoes were 49 percent planted, about average. Spring wheat is 65 percent planted, 58 percent average, with 16 percent emerged, 37 percent average. Barley is 50 percent planted, 55 percent average.
Crop conditions ranked in the good to excellent condition rankings were: hay, 68 percent; oats, 63 percent; pasture, 58 percent.
Montana's high temperatures hit the 90s in some parts of the states, while lows ranged from 18 degrees to the upper 30s. The town of Rapelje, northwest of Billings, got the most rain at .56 inch, but soil moisture is well above the five-year average with soil moisture adequate to surplus in 88 percent, topsoil; 92 percent, subsoil.
Winter wheat is 69 percent in good to excellent shape with 5 percent in the boot stage.
Spring wheat is 46 percent planted compared to a five-year average of 62 percent, with emergence slightly behind average at 18 percent. Barley is 52 percent planted, compared to 77 percent average and emergence behind schedule at 26 percent.
Camelina is 5 percent planted, 34 percent average; mustard seed is 2 percent planted, 47 percent average; safflower, 5 percent planted, 32 percent average.
Dry edible beans are 31 percent planted, 34 percent average; dry edible peas, 70 percent planted, 70 percent average; lentils, 46 percent planted, 55 percent average.
Corn is 15 percent planted, 55 percent average; potatoes, 4 percent planted, average unavailable; sugar beets, 62 percent planted, 66 percent average, with 5 percent emerged.
Calving is 93 percent complete, just ahead of average, with 28 percent moved to summer pasture compared to 34 percent average for the date. Sheep were 91 percent lambed, compared to 83 percent average, with 31 percent moved to summer pasture, exactly equal to average.