It feels the same, only wetter and colder.
A year ago this time, I wrote about the current situation in our local region or northeast North Dakota. It was the last week of April and some farmers had some cereals in the ground and others were able to have fertilizer applied.
A year later, here we are the first week of May and the results are similar, only as stated before, it is wetter and colder.
I have some wheat and barley planted in the Tolna area, west of Lakota, and around Dahlen and Fordville. In guessing, about 2-3% of the planned wheat is in the ground, so much of the work is yet to be done. As farmers travel outside our region, particularly south and east, they have the sentiment, "Things could be worse."
Yes, there are areas of the Red River Valley east of us that have more water standing, and if someone wanted to take state highway roads from Lakota to Fargo, they would see much of the same.
Traditionally, our area takes a back seat when it comes to starting early, but we are thankful for the situation we are in and appreciate the fact that things could be worse. Petersburg to Dahlen ended up with the most snow in the most recent snowfall and majority of those farmers were yet to start any fieldwork, so patience is being tested now as the days in May begin to slip by with a forecast that suggests it's going to be a few days before fieldwork starts again.
The work must still go on. I have been in the office wrapping up the last of the fertilizer recommendations for edible beans and soybeans. Today one of the scouts was out monitoring fields that have already been planted to wheat and check if we need to make a pre-emergence/burndown application to some weeds in the field. Soil sampling isn't quite wrapped up yet for the spring season and we are hoping to get back in the field very soon, so we can get the results needed to finalize some of the fertility recommendations. The next few days we will be loading monitors with prescriptions for those that hadn't started yet. Dialogue will pick up between farmer, consultant, and retailers as activities in the field begin for all. There will be seeding, planting, and spraying questions prior to applications being made to make sure we eliminate any potential mistakes.
Farmers realize what the challenge entails between getting a crop in in a timely manner, trying to increase yield, and not be overly burdened by the current commodity prices. I have shared with farmers, when we are faced with these current economic conditions, the mistakes must be zero to slim. Farmers are planning on producing another good crop with help of course from Mother Nature. Yield goals remain high and cutting costs isn't an option for many as we push ourselves to do better.
Plans haven't changed much in the last few days. Farmers have started in the second and third week of May before in our region. Though it isn't preferred, we know we can still get it done. In the meantime, we plan and prepare to be highly efficient when the next planting window opens and we hope it will remain open until we close it.
Good luck and have a safe planting season.