Northern Plains Producers Get Head Start on Planting

Dryness may yet be a problem, but for now it is allowing producers on the US northern Plains to get a head start on spring planting.

Individual state crop progress reports show that spring wheat planting was already 11% complete in South Dakota as of Sunday. That compares to 0% last year and just 4% for the five-year average. In fact, it took until the third week of April last year for spring wheat planting in South Dakota to advance to roughly near the same level of completion it is now.

An estimated 6% of the South Dakota oat crop was also reported planted as of Sunday, versus 0% last year and 3% on average.

Progress was slower in the No. 1 production state of North Dakota, where the spring wheat crop was 1% seeded as of Sunday. However, that is still far ahead of last year when only about 5% of the crop was in at the end of April due to a combination of wet spring conditions in some parts of the state and delays caused by various unharvested crops from the previous year.

Oat planting in North Dakota was pegged at 1% complete as of Sunday, ahead of both last year and the average.

The Montana spring wheat crop was 1% planted as of Sunday, on par with the five-year average, while barley was 2% complete, 1 point behind the average.

The Minnesota crop progress report said mostly warm and dry conditions allowed farmers in the state to begin planting small grains but provided no estimates on progress.

The early planting is the result of overly dry conditions last fall that was followed by a winter with below normal snowfall and a minimal spring runoff. In the worst-hit state of North Dakota, topsoil moisture supplies were rated 92% short to very short as of Sunday, compared to just 1% short (0% very short) at the same time last year.

South Dakota topsoil moisture was rated 68% short to very short, versus 0% last year. At 76% short to very short as of Sunday, Montana topsoil moisture was markedly poorer compared to just 2% last year, and Minnesota was at 43% short to very short, from 2% last year.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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