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Spring planting begins

By Staff | May 4, 2012

Spring planting got started this past week in Pierce County. Many farmers have been digging and preparing fields. A few are finishing up calving season before they head to the fields.

With a milder winter, farmers are not as concerned about getting their crops in as they were last year at this time when they were surrounded by water and couldn’t get access to their fields. In fact, in most areas of the county it is a little on the dry side this year.

Gary Kraft, director, Farm Service Agency, Rugby, estimated that 75% of the calving is done in the county.

Cory Atkinson, who farms east and south of Rugby, is one of those almost done with calfing. He and others in the area say they had a pretty successful season. Atkinson plans to be out seeding in another week. He is planning to plant wheat, corn and soybeans.

“Corn, beans and canola have been very successful the last few years,” said Kraft. He predicts there will be more canola planted this year. The market price has been good on canola for a couple of years or more.

Since his feedlot was flooded out last year and he didn’t have to worry about cattle this season, Blaine Schmaltz started seeding on Monday, April 23. He was still out planting at 9:30 p.m. when the Tribune called.

“He had to get the garden tilled first,” said Susie, his wife, laughing. After all she has to have something to feed the workers with.

At the Randy Oppen farm, near Towner, Cari Oppen answered the phone.

“He’s been doing a lot of digging, but no planting yet,” said Mrs. Oppen. “Hopefully, by the end of this week we will start seeding.”

For Mitchell Guss, Willow City area farmer, it is too wet to plant quite yet.

“We have nothing in the ground yet,” said Guss. “This area from north of Rugby to Canada is the wettest area in the state.”

“If there is no rain by the weekend or Monday (April 30), we’ll be planting,” he added. “There’s not a lot of outfits moving out here.”

In the southern half of the state, some of the crops were in by April 22 which was about a month earlier than last year. Calving in the state is 80% complete and lambing about 88% complete, according to the North Dakota crop and livestock report.

Precipitation is average to below average with temperatures warmer in the southern part of the state and cooler in the north.

“We’re going to need rain after the crop is planted,” said Kraft.

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