Harvest has begun in northeast North Dakota

Harvest season has started for a handful of farmers in my area. Winter wheat is done. Barley is just starting, and spring wheat will be coming off in big acres the next two to three weeks.

Erin Brown/Grand Vale Creative
Erin Brown/Grand Vale Creative

Harvest season has started for a handful of farmers in my area. Winter wheat is done. Barley is just starting, and spring wheat will be coming off in big acres the next two to three weeks.

Barley looks to be an average to above average crop in this area. A majority of fields had sufficient moisture, and being an early season crop, it avoided much of the heat stress we received a couple of weeks ago. More of my farmers have adapted to straight cutting barley in recent years so harvest is delayed slightly to let the straw dry down. Swathers have been busy for those still using that practice and most of those acres have been cut and are starting to get picked up.

Spring wheat will be a decent crop for a majority of farmers in my area. Fields near Fordville and Park River, N.D., may see some shorter yields due to lack of rainfall on the lighter soils. In 2016 this area was some of the best wheat I had seen, but when the rain didn't come as often this season, the sandy soil reacts quickly.

We are anxious to get into the spring wheat crop and compare some of the newer varieties. Faller and Prosper still look very strong. Westbred 9507 and 9653 appear to have filled well and standing nicely. Croplan 3530 is new for a few of my farmers, and that variety also looks to have high end yield potential.

The University of Minnesota's latest wheat release, Shelly, is in a few fields for me and appears to have filled well. It will be interesting to see how it compares. AgriPro Valda and Ingmar will be towards the top as well. Ingmar typically isn't the high-yield type, but it looks very nice right now. We still have other varieties, such as Rollag, Linkert, Mayville and Croplan 3419, and most of them look nice in the field. It will simply come down to how they yield and what levels of protein we end up with.


Canola swathing is about to start for some of my farmers. This year I have a few more acres of those wanting to direct harvest canola, and they picked a good year to do it. Canola is standing well and seems very even in its maturing process compared to previous years.

Most farmers will desiccate the canola before harvesting it, but I have a couple of fields that are maturing so even that we are just going to let it mature on its own without any harvest aid. Not all canola escaped the high temperatures from two weeks ago. We are seeing some flowers and pods that got shut down during those hot days which will affect yield somewhat.

Soybean farmers have been busy managing the aphid pressure. Highway 2 has somewhat been a natural line this season. A majority of the fields north of Highway 2 have needed two applications in the last month, where many of our fields south of the highway have yet to be sprayed once. The soybeans look nice right now, but to be above average we will need some moisture in the next couple of weeks.

This time of year is bittersweet for me as I anxiously await harvest and help my father-in-law take his crop off. However, I have to say goodbye to my seasonal college interns as they head back to college. This season I was very fortunate to have outstanding help to assist with the scouting season.

From University of Minnesota-Crookston, I had Jeremy Schonauer, Wyatt Huso, Logan Huso and Kamron Matejcek. From the Lake Region State Precision Ag Program in Devils Lake, I had Adam Olhauser. Brent Messner from McVille, N.D., is Huso Crop Consulting's main employee and crop scout. I would also like to thank Ryan Twedt, a previous college intern who was able to help when needed during the season.

Wishing all a safe and successful harvest!!

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