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Wet weather slows Minn. crops: North Dakota measuring on track

A boat is next to a field Tuesday between Glyndon and Hawley where the crop is mostly under water. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO, N.D. — While a late start and above-average rainfall have slowed crops, some farmers in the region weren’t too far from “knee high by the Fourth of July.”

“I think generally that anything that got planted in a timely manner, especially speaking of small grains, looks actually better than we deserve,” said Joel Ransom, North Dakota State University Extension agronomist in Fargo. “I’d say corn is starting to pick up and is not as far behind as we may have thought.”

But that’s not necessarily the case in areas to the north and south that have received excessive heavy rains, Ransom said.

On the Minnesota side, conditions declined for all crops from June 23-29 because of excess moisture and standing water, according to the weekly report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released June 29. Alfalfa cutting was two weeks behind average.

Low areas are swamped, though winds last week did help dry things out, said Phillip Glogoza, University of Minnesota Extension crops educator in Moorhead.

Crops are developing slowly and there’s a lot of yellowing, Glogoza said. “The soil profile is pretty saturated. That’s what gives you the yellowing conditions.”

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 47 percent adequate and 53 percent surplus, and subsoil moisture supplies were 51 percent adequate, 49 percent surplus, the June 29 NASS report said.

“We still have time to do things and get good crops,” Glogoza said. “We’d like to see it hold off on the rains for a while. Farmers need some window of opportunity to get caught up on weed control, maybe a little bit of supplemental fertilization that’s still required.”

Because the crops are small, they’re not able to use the moisture the way larger crops would. The rain wouldn’t be as problematic in late July, Ransom said.

In North Dakota, topsoil moisture statewide rated 64 percent adequate and 34 percent surplus, as of June 29. Subsoil moisture supplies were 69 percent adequate and 30 percent surplus.

Soybeans came out of the ground looking good, said Hans Kandel, NDSU Extension agronomist, but are yellowing because of the excess moisture and cool weather. Those that are dark green were close to blooming last week, he said, but yellowed crops will be delayed.

Nonetheless, statewide in North Dakota, durum wheat, spring wheat, barley, oats, canola, flaxseed, dry beans and soybeans were all ahead of last year, and ahead or near average, the June 29 NASS report said. Potato and sunflower planting were both ahead of last year and near average.

A new NASS report is issued today.

“So far, I’d say no need to panic about there not being enough season for the corn crop. We’re not alarmingly behind schedule. We’re OK even with the later planting because of some of those warm weeks we had,” Ransom said.

“If the cool weather … persists, we’ll be in trouble.”