Planting progress varies in northeast ND

Planting progress varies greatly in my northeast North Dakota area. A few farmers were able to start seeding around May 2, and I have other clients who have yet to reach the field.


Planting progress varies greatly in my northeast North Dakota area. A few farmers were able to start seeding around May 2, and I have other clients who have yet to reach the field.

Farmers around the Fordville, N.D., area have had some decent success getting the crop planted during this last week. Binford, McVille and Aneta farmers were also able to get some cereals and corn planted the last few days. South of Lakota has seen some activity around the Stump Lake area, but the Highway 2 region from Lakota to Niagara seems to be the slowest to dry out. A few farms have applied some fertilizer, but don't have much seed in the ground.


The last two weeks have been very busy loading monitors with prescriptions for different applications. Variable rate applications have widely been adapted for many of my farmers with the goal to maximize yield in our top performing acres, and certainly try to minimize our losses in the poor producing ones.

The success of variable rate is more about communication than anything. Communication between the farmer, consultant, prescription writer, equipment dealer, agronomy retailer and custom applicator is very important to make sure no steps are missed and the equipment can perform to the task we are asking it to.


Writing a prescription for a field also allows us to apply what we call "learning blocks" in a field. These blocks could be any product such as nitrogen, phosphate blend, liquid starter or corn seed. We are trying to find a response from different application rates of these products to determine if: A) we should apply different rates in certain areas, or B) our current rates are in fact adequate and optimal to achieve goals.

Field Scouting: Burndown applications

While fields have been too wet for some farmers to get started, it hasn't been too wet for weeds. Some fields that have been planted have required a burndown after seeding because of weed pressure, and the fact that vertical tillage isn't as successful at eliminating weeds as a cultivation pass.

However, even our cultivation pass is showing some weed escapes such as foxtail barley. Foxtail barley is common weed in this area and can be quite difficult to control in crop if the size gets too big. A burndown application is very effective and cheaper than an in-crop application.

A majority of farms I work with plan on doing a preplant or pre-emerge/burndown application for their beans this season. We have been actively scouting these fields to make sure we are using the right products for the situation when we have emerged weeds after the beans are in the ground. Weed resistance is growing into my area and I'm sure others as well. We are doing everything possible to minimize the establishment of glyphosate resistant weeds.

Winter Rye

The fields in my area that are currently green are planted with rye. A few growers planted winter rye last fall - some for the first time and others for their second season. Most of these fields will be planted to soybeans or edible beans. A couple of these fields were recently terminated as they will be planted to wheat and corn.

In 2016, the spring was the opposite of our current moisture situation. With it being quite dry last year, we saw some mixed results with the rye as it used more moisture than we would have liked and didn't provide a great seed bed.


This year appears to be different. The rye fields again are using moisture, but now that looks to be quite a benefit. We should have no problem waiting for these fields to dry out. I expect a majority of these fields to be planted in the next five-10 days. I look forward to sharing an update again in June.

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