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Southwest ND ‘really close’ to cutting wheat crops

Rain over the weekend has pushed harvest back a few days, Stark County Extension Agent Kurt Froelich said Aug. 10. "As far as the harvest goes, things are still pretty spotty," he said. "We are really, really close. But, not there yet." He said s...

Rain over the weekend has pushed harvest back a few days, Stark County Extension Agent Kurt Froelich said Aug. 10.

“As far as the harvest goes, things are still pretty spotty,” he said. “We are really, really close. But, not there yet.”

He said speciality crops, such as peas, have been harvested, but all other plants depend on how early they were put into the ground. If planted early enough and in certain sections of the county, barley is starting to come off and winter wheat is being harvested.

“The harvest has been really spotty so far,” Froelich said.

The patchy harvests could be due to variable weather conditions throughout the county, which have brought heavy rains to portions of the county and left drier stretches in other sections.

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As an example, Froelich said he has heard reports of heavy rain in Dickinson, but said it is drier toward Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport five miles south of town.

“It really depends on who you talk to this year,” he said. “Some places got excess moisture while other places have been dry. The weather has been really sporadic.”

That’s why some farmers are harvesting crops, while others are not ready.

He suspects once fields dry out from weekend rainfalls, the harvest will start in “full swing.”

Soon after, spring wheat and canola will be ready to harvest.

Terry Kirschemann grows wheat and canola on his property in Regent and said he will likely start harvesting Aug. 11 or 12.

He said the harvest is a little behind this year, ideally starting the first week of August.

Scranton Equity Exchange grain manager Mike Wedwick said most other regions of the state have already started harvesting crops, but moisture in the southwest corner has delayed the harvest.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress and Condition report for the state estimates that 16 percent of spring wheat, 44 percent of peas, 29 percent of barley, 1 percent of durum and 1 percent of canola has been harvested.

However, Wedwick said there are benefits to the harvest not being ready yet.

“It’s good that this crop isn’t ready yet,” he said last Friday. “They should be filling out really well. These crops should be good quality. ”

He said during hot and dry years, crops get pushed really hard and can be harvested early, but come with a lighter test weight and get fewer bushels per acre. Cool, wet years can also weaken growth.

It’s predicted this year will fall between those two points, making for a banner year.

Based on an eye test, Froelich said “things look really good.”

That initial report will be solidified later this week, or early next week, when the majority of small-grain crops are predicted to be harvested.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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