Weird weather year continues with rain

FARGO, N.D. -- Rain delays have bogged down the region's row crop harvest, as farmers move through another twist in a weird weather year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports on harvest progress are about as current as they were Oct.

FARGO, N.D. -- Rain delays have bogged down the region's row crop harvest, as farmers move through another twist in a weird weather year.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports on harvest progress are about as current as they were Oct. 4, when they were produced, because little new progress has occurred.

Here are NASS crop progress reports for each state, comparing current progress to the five-year average, followed by Agweek Crop Stop visits.

North Dakota

Rains have been the heaviest in the east-central and southeast parts of the state, with accumulations of 3 to 5 inches, in many places, while especially dry from Crosby to Dickinson, Beulah and Mandan.


Meanwhile, topsoil and subsoil moisture is in surplus condition through much of the eastern third of the state.

Scattered frost occurred across the region, and most farmers are welcoming it.

Crop conditions in the good to excellent conditions included corn, 60 percent; dry edible beans, 58 percent; soybeans, 70 percent; sugar beets, 66 percent; sunflowers, 74 percent; and pasture and range, 56 percent. Some 11 percent of the dry edible beans were rated in the poor or very poor category.

Crops progress compared with five-year averages include corn, 86 percent dented, 96 percent average; corn mature, 23 percent, 71 percent average; corn for silage, 52 percent chopped, 82 percent average. Dry beans, 41 percent harvested, 67 percent average. Flaxseed, 78 percent harvested, 91 percent average. Potatoes, 89 percent vines killed, 98 percent average, 58 percent dug, 77 percent average. Soybeans, 13 percent harvested, 44 percent average; Sugar beets, 24 percent lifted, 30 percent average. Sunflowers, 61 percent bracts turned brown, 75 percent average.


Much of the state is "adequate" for topsoil moisture, but the Red River Valley, in the Moorhead to East Grand Forks areas, is rated surplus. Areas of the southeast corner of the state are short and very short of moisture.

Crop conditions ranked in the good to excellent categories included soybeans, 66 percent; corn, 72 percent; sunflowers, 55 percent; and sugar beets, 70 percent. Pasture conditions ranked 26 percent poor to very poor.

South Dakota


Cool, wet weather and spotty hard frost are the crop topics, as the town of Porcupine, S.D., posted the low of 19 degrees as September turned to October. Northeast South Dakota ranged from 4 degrees to 7 degrees below-average for the week.

Southwest and northwest South Dakota have had a hard freeze, and mostly somewhat later than average.

Much of northeast South Dakota is ahead of moisture for the week preceding Oct. 4, as is an area of the Black Hills.

Clear Lake topped the state rankings with 2.77 inches in the week before Oct. 4, and that was followed by another inch. The state is 96 percent adequate to surplus in feed supplies, and stock water is 89 percent adequate to surplus. Soil moisture conditions are better than normal at 69 percent adequate or surplus.

Crop conditions in the good to excellent conditions were corn, 78 percent; soybeans, 67 percent; sorghum, 77 percent; sunflowers, 72 percent; alfalfa, 70 percent; cattle, 97 percent; sheep, 87 percent; and range and pasture, 63 percent.

Crop progress for the week found winter wheat, 78 percent seeded, 79 percent average; corn, 57 percent mature, 78 percent average; soybeans, 58 percent mature, 78 percent average, 16 percent harvested, 30 percent average; sunflowers, 42 percent mature, 44 percent average; corn, 37 percent mature, 77 percent average; soybeans, 71 percent mature, 84 percent average, 19 percent harvested, 41 percent average; potatoes, 74 percent harvested, 73 percent average; canola, 99 percent harvested, 97 percent average; dry beans, 70 percent harvested, 76 percent average; sugar beets, 23 percent harvested, 29 percent average; and sunflowers, 10 percent harvested, 7 percent average.


Snow came to the state during the previous week, and many precipitation and snow records for Sept. 30 fell, especially in the central and southwest parts of he state. Subsoil moisture is ranked 34 percent adequate or surplus through the state, below last year's 44 percent but above the 31 percent five-year average.


Crop progress for various crops included barley, 97 percent harvested, 99 percent average; dry beans, 96 percent harvested, 83 percent average; durum wheat, 90 percent harvested, 92 percent average; spring wheat, 98 percent harvested, 99 percent average; and sugar beets, 8 percent harvested, 12 percent average.

On the planting side, winter wheat is 86 percent planted for the 2010 crop, up from the 79 percent average. That wheat was 39 percent emerged, up from the 30 percent average.

Crop conditions in the good to excellent categories included corn, 67 percent, and sugar beets, 80 percent.

Agweek crop stops

n ORISKA, N.D. -- Mark Davies of Valley City, N.D., has worked for Triebold Farms west of Oriska for about 15 years. Brothers John, Alan and Roger Triebold produce corn and soybeans.

"If it freezes between now and Halloween, I don't know if all the corn will make it." Davies says of the crop, taking a break from removing divider points off of the self-propelled sprayer and preparing the machine for winter storage. "It's been a weird year. Now all of the rain is showing up, and we needed it two months ago."

Soybean harvest hasn't started because of the rain. He figures 4 inches in the past two weeks, John says. A freeze Sept. 29 nipped about half of the corn. The ground was white till 9 a.m. Five percent to 10 percent on the cobs were dented on fields near Valley City.

"We'll see what federal crop tells me. They tell me it'll keep going, depending on how cold it was," Davis says.


Beans were on the green side, and the Triebolds were on the verge of starting and then got all the rain. He thinks it'll be Oct. 14 before it's solid enough to drive on.

"Five or six years we were in the same situation," Triebold says. "At the end of October, the skies cleared, and once it dried up, we flew right through them. I'm not in a panic yet."

- WOLVERTON, Minn. -- Curt Bertness, manager of the C-W Valley Co-op in Wolverton, says wheat this year ranged from the upper teens to the mid-40s in bushels per acre, with some 70-bushel stuff. June brought excessive rains -- 5 to 8 inches on some farmers. The test weight was good, but the protein varied and was mostly low, from the 10 percent area up to 15 percent. Corn in his area is going to be a mixed bag. Ditto with the soybeans. with "the ones we've taken off so far low 20s to mid-30s. Hoping for a 30-bushel average, which would be about two-thirds of last year."

The corn is too wet to harvest, even if the ground dries up. He thinks it'll be in the field for a few weeks yet. He thinks most farmers in his area have received 3.5 to 4.5 inches of rain in the last week.

- GRACE CITY, N.D. -- Mike Munson drives truck and runs about 50 head of Angus cattle near Grace City with his brother, Randy, a mechanic from Fargo, N.D.

"There were some hay fields we couldn't get into to completely mow," Munson says.

This left Randy and him wondering if the water table in the area was changing. The two feed sunflower screenings and hay, primarily. The soybeans in the area look good and the corn is "kinda iffy, depending on the weather," he says.

- ROTHSAY, Minn. -- Doug Danielson farms with his son, Cary, and a son-in-law near Rothsay. The Danielsons raise corn and soybeans.


Late August and early September helped the crops catch up. At Big Iron in early September, Danielson had said that if it had been August, he'd have seen it as the potential for the best crop he'd ever had.

"Then, we were praying for a good October; now, we're praying for a good November," Danielson says. "We're pushing 3 inches of rain in the past few days, and we didn't need any of it."

Still, the corn doesn't look bad. Early-planted corn is the best, and he's hoping the later-planted fields will turn out.

The soybeans look good, but he hasn't combined any.

"More than likely we'll have to wait for a frost and a dry-up. We've had rain the last few days and everything is at a standstill."

Some neighbors that have harvested soybeans thought looked they looked good from the road and found their yields disappointing. Others have been happy.

- OSAKIS, Minn. -- Larry Hoppe farms with the help of a son, Aaron. He has one-quarter together with his brother, Herb. Hoppe raises corn, soybeans and some spring wheat also and does a little harvesting in the 30-mile radius.

This year's wheat went fairly decent, from 50 to 75 bushels per acre. He hasn't checked his own wheat on protein. It's in the bin and he is "sitting on it." Area protein reports were as low as the 8 percent or 9 percent range, but some in the 11 percent to 12 percent.


"We haven't turned a wheel near O-sakis to do beans or corn," he says, of the harvest. "Well, one guy took some beans at 14.5 (percent) to 15 percent moisture, but now is probably happy he did."

Corn harvest is going to wait a while.

"I talked to my brother in-law by Olivia, Minn. They'd started on some beans before the rain. They were barely dry enough, and the straw is like silage coming out the back. What we need is a good killing frost. The guys haven't started on the corn yet because the corn's got moisture," he says.

- WATERTOWN, S.D. -- Rolla Stolten-burg farms with his son, Brian, north of Watertown.

"I think the corn's going to fare better than the beans," Stoltenburg says. "It's going to take drying days."

Stoltenburg says he's welcoming a hard frost, predicted for Oct. 8. There were earlier, lighter frosts, he says, with effects varying on how high the ground was.

"The lower ground froze," he says.

Corn farmers in his area are looking yields in the 170-bushel area, Stolten-burg says.

"I'm sure there's going to be some 200-bushel corn," he says.

Lighter soil will yield the best this year. He'd heard reports on soybean yields running 60 to 70 bushels per acre in the Estelline, S.D., area, before the harvest-stopping rains.

"The corn is up to where we usually are as far as dry-down," he says.

The kernels are starting to go to the black layer.

"The beans are a disaster -- sitting in water, 4.5 inches of rain," he says.

"There's a lot of grain out there that's out of condition, and that's where they can steal it," he says. "That's what's going to happen. Any wheat that was not put into air bins, they're going to have problems."

- SUMMIT, S.D. -- Lonnie Nelson and his brother, Dustin, farm southwest of Summit with their father, David. This year, the rye wet about 56 bushels an acre, which is average or above. The winter wheat ran 60 bushels.

"It's the first year we've had it," Lonnie says.

Spring wheat averaged 55 to 60 bushels an acre, with low protein, and the moisture content ran about 14 percent to 16 percent.

The Nelsons think the corn is going to be wet this year, at least 18 percent or better, with the yields possibly in the 100- to 125-bushel area. Soybean yields likely will be below-average. Harvest started Oct. 1.

Sunflower yields likely will be a bit above-average.

- SISSETON, S.D. -- Calvin Finnesand of Sisseton raises small grains and has a 140-cow beef cow-calf operation near Sisseton.

This year will go down as his best wheat crop ever with yields in the mid-70-bushel range and good quality -- 63 to 64 pounds per bushel and averaging 14.1 percent protein.

Finnesand is worried about the soybeans. He started harvesting beans Sept. 27. Initially, the soybeans were going to the elevator, so he wasn't immediately sure about the yield, but he pegs it in the mid-30s to 40 range, with moisture in the 12.5 percent to 13 percent range.

The bean harvest ended Sept. 30, with less than 5 percent finished, and nearly 3 inches of rain since then.

"It's still raining hard and we're supposed to get more," he says. "It's supposed to get in the 20s, and that'll kill the beans. Right now, it looks like we'll have to load all the trucks on the road.

Finnesand has no corn this year.

"I usually have a little corn, maybe 150 acres. I figured I could buy it cheaper this year," he says.

In advance of the recent rains, he was hoping to have his haystacks moved in. He also does a little custom combining.

"I pick up some of the smaller producers around and a few neighbors," he says.

- IPSWICH, S.D. -- Don Jones of Ipswich is 80 and continues to farm with sons Doug and Daniel. The family also runs a trucking business with eight trucks.

This year's wheat ranged from 45 to 70 bushels per acre, with 14 protein and about 60 pounds per bushel. Last year's bean ground did the best. The corn is looking really good, but there's been so much moisture that some areas still are green even though the corn is matured.

"The freeze will take care of that," he says.

Assuming corn and soybeans should be normal or above-normal, it'll be late October before the harvest.

"We've got no degree warming days," he says, "and for things to dry up, it's going to take awhile."

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