Crops look good in most of county
“The crop outlook is good, barring bad weather,”said Gary Kraft, director, Farm Service Agency, Rugby.
Harvest has been delayed by the late spring planting and wet conditions. When harvest will begin depends on who you talk to. Some of the cattle ranchers say they hope to be in the fields in about ten days. They are already harvesting hay. Farmers with grain and row crops say two weeks at the earliest for grain.
“I’m going to say 2-3 weeks with the right kind of weather,” said Carter Medalen, agronomist, Farmers Union, when asked about the beginning of grain harvest.
He went on to say that the early small grains are in the dough to hard dough stage in the county right now. Soybeans are about half way through flowering. Wheat and soybeans are the two predominant crops in Pierce County.
Rugby has been described as an Island to compared to some of those neighbors who were inundated with too much water this spring. A few, in the outlying areas of the county, were not able to get any crops planted and will have nothing to harvest. Those who have it rely on Prevent Plant payments as their fields were simply too wet to plant. Some are taking measures to try to prevent snow accumulations on those fields next winter, along with other methods to prepare and nurture the soil for the next growing season.
For those who planted crops (about 90% in Pierce County), weather and moisture are two factors that figure into producing a successful crop with high yields. Even hot dry days have their downside. Pierce County has had above normal temperatures this past week.
“When we have high humidity and high heat there will be fungus on any unprotected crop,” said Karlyle Erickson, Pierce County agent.
The spraying services have seen steady business attempting to protect crops from diseases. Both Schneider Aerial, Rugby, and CMB Spraying, Wolford are taking care of crops in this area. Bob
Johnson from Towner sprays crops, as well.
“Lots of people are spraying fungicide,” said Kraft.
Medalen says he got some calls this past week reporting concern about blotches on the heads in some areas. “Those are more of an eyesore than a problem at this point,” he said. They are caused from wet conditions, but he hasn’t seen any actual bloom blotch in this area yet.
With temperatures in the upper 80s the last couple of weeks, the row crops are thriving at the moment. So far, the rain events have dropped 1.5″ in Rugby this week, making the season total for the county’s biggest city at 11.29″.
“We have some good looking crops here, if they can make it to harvest, ” said Kraft.
Medalen agrees. “Yield potential is pretty respectable in most cases,” he said.
Kraft added that the market has been dropping, lately. Markets can fluctuate up and down throughout the growing season, but the number which is most important is what the price is when harvest is complete and thereafter. If the prices are low, a lot of grain and other crops get stored until prices come up.
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