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Crops advancing ahead of schedule

By Staff | Jul 13, 2012

Crop development is advancing ahead of schedule due to the higher than average temperatures and early planting across a good part of the state. For Pierce County the story is about the same.

Winter wheat and barley are heading out early and will soon be ready to harvest. Some in the area have started already and others will be starting in a couple of weeks depending on when they planted.

Pierce County does not have a lot of winter wheat planted and what has been planted is ready.

“Small grain-wise, it looks to be an average to a little better than average crop this year,” said Carter Medalen. “The corn and beans have a ways to go so it is a little too early to predict.”

More corn was planted in the county this season than in other years. The row crops like the hot weather. The crop, at this point, is looking pretty good. Marketing the crop should not be challenging either as according to Blaine Schmaltz, the market is indicating the need for corn for ethanol plants and other uses.

As we go to press on Thursday, July 12, there have been four straight days with temperatures in the lower 90s without much relief projected, at least for the next few days. To top that off, precipitation is slightly below normal for this point in the summer in the Rugby area, according to the crop weather report from the North Dakota Field office of the USDA. In the past week, Rugby has received only .68 in the form of a rain shower.

“W need a drink of water,” said Blaine Schmaltz who farms west and south of Rugby.

Medalen agrees that about an inch of rain now and another inch at the beginning of August would relieve the possibility of drought stress brought on by high temperatures and humidity.

“We can treat for diseases and eliminate weeds but there is no cure for a drought,” said Medalen.

Hay is a crop that has been affected by the extreme heat, as well. Pastures in many areas are burning up this year. In speaking to area farmers, they report that the hay crop is short in much of the state.

Schmaltz estimated that hay is short by about a third. This shortage affects livestock. North Dakota ranchers who raise livestock may end up having to put a call out for hay like Wyoming has done recently.

The next two to three weeks will tell the story.

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