wheat harvest 2020 file photo

Wheat, golden in the sun, is getting harvested near the Montana-North Dakota border. 

Early harvest reports suggest a good-quality crop is coming off the fields and going into the bins in North Dakota and Montana, with good test weights, no falling numbers, and no widespread reports of fusaraium, according to early samples.

Early yield reports look like they are on track with average figures — but some producers are reporting well below average, due to moisture and heat stress in June. Areas with later planted wheat, meanwhile, are reporting better crop conditions, with more favorable yield prospects — but these fields could face pressure from late season weeds and variable crop maturity in the same field, as well as increased disease pressure if there is more rain.

North Dakota advanced its harvest 7 percent and Montana 14 percent over the past week. They will likely make more significant progress over the coming days, with only a little rain forecast.

“If we get some rain tonight, that will slow things down a little, but with highs predicted in the 80s and 90s in the coming days, and lots of sunshine, it shouldn’t really set us back any,” said cropping specialist Dr. Clair Keene. “I expect those harvesting would be back at it by Saturday or Sunday as it will likely dry out quickly.”

The hot weather is drying out peas and lentils as well as wheat, Keene added.

“I don’t have a good sense of how many have started harvesting spring cereals, but it is not a huge number, maybe 10 percent of farmers,” she said. “I expect this will ramp up a lot more next week.”

Nationwide, the spring wheat crop is now 15 percent harvested, according to USDA’s weekly Crop Progress report. That’s up from 5 percent the previous week. It is well ahead of last year’s 6 percent, but it’s well behind the five-year 25 percent average.

All the main wheat states are reporting percentages that are ahead of last year’s progress.

Crop conditions in North Dakota for spring wheat fell to 63 percent in North Dakota, down from 68 percent last week, due to continued dry weather. In Montana, crop conditions dropped a percentage point from 80 to 79 percent good to excellent, however the amount rated excellent did rise from 15 percent to 20.

The durum harvest, meanwhile, is just beginning to get underway with 2 percent harvested in North Dakota, ahead of last year’s 1 percent. Coloring is at 86 percent, ahead of both last year’s 77 percent and the five-year 84 percent average. Mature is 25 percent. That’s behind 33 percent last year.

Montana is a little further ahead, with 8 percent of the crop harvested, primarily in the far western durum production region. This pace is slightly behind the 5-year 15 percent average. Sixty-eight percent of the crop is turning color, which is behind last year’s 72 percent, and the five-year 84 percent average.

Crop ratings have declined in both Montana and North Dakota, dropping to 66 percent good to excellent in North Dakota and to 50 percent in Montana from 64 percent.

Expanding dryness across the durum-producing region is the cause for this drop, as hot temperatures continue to stress crops and accelerate maturities.

Winter wheat, meanwhile, is 57 percent good to excellent with 87 percent of the crop mature in North Dakota. Just over half of it has been harvested, which is near the five-year 50 percent average.

Similarly, Montana has harvested 45 percent of its winter wheat, which is rated 82 percent good to excellent.

Here’s a look at how other crops are faring:

North Dakota Soybeans are 92 percent in bloom, near last year and five-year averages, and 71 percent have set pods, which is about average. The condition is rated 67 percent good to excellent.

North Dakota corn is 73 percent good to excellent with 92 percent silking out, which is close to the five-year average. Dough is at 20 percent, ahead of 5 percent last year, but behind the five-year 27 percent average.

Corn in Montana, meanwhile is rated 82 percent good to excellent. No crop progress was listed in the weekly report.

North Dakota canola is rated 73 percent good to excellent with 64 percent of the crop coloring and 1 percent harvested. That’s well behind the five-year 81 percent average for coloring, but equal to last year for harvest.

Montana canola is further ahead with 83 percent turning color and 19 percent harvested.

Montana sugarbeets, meanwhile, are rated 85 percent good to excellent, while North Dakota sugarbeets are 93 percent good to excellent.

North Dakota oats are 63 percent good to excellent with 86 percent coloring. That’s ahead of last year’s 80 percent, but behind the five-year 92 percent average. About 48 percent of the crop is mature, ahead of 33 percent last year, and the harvest is at 17 percent, which is ahead of 4 percent last year, but behind the five-year 29 percent average.

Oats in Montana are 44 percent good to average with 74 percent turning color and 15 percent harvested, well behind the five-year 29 percent for harvest.

North Dakota barley is 63 percent good to excellent, with coloring at 91 percent and mature at 49 percent. The harvest is at 13 percent, which is behind the five-year 30 percent average.

In Montana, barley is 95 percent turning color and 10 percent harvested, with crop conditions at 82 percent good to excellent.

Dry edible peas in North Dakota are 71 percent good to excellent with 85 percent dropping leaves and the harvest at 24 percent. That’s ahead of 17 percent last year, but well behind the five-year 43 percent average.

In Montana, dry edible peas are at 45 percent harvested, also well behind the five-year 60 percent average, with a crop condition rating of 63 percent good to excellent.

North Dakota sunflowers are 71 percent good to excellent, with blooms at 78 percent, near the five-year average 77 percent. Ray flowers dry is at 2 percent.

Montana safflowers are 80 percent in bloom, with 35 percent turning color, which is close to five year averages for both numbers.

North Dakota flaxseed is 70 percent good to excellent with 60 percent turning color. That’s behind the five-year 75 percent average for turning color. Harvest is at 1 percent.

In Montana, flaxseed is 50 percent turning color and 5 percent harvested.

Montana lentils, meanwhile, are 31 percent harvested, behind the five year 45 percent average, with a condition rating of 64 percent good to excellent, while North Dakota lentils are 3 percent harvested, near 1 percent last year.

Montana mustard seed, meanwhile, is 88 percent turning color.

North Dakota potatoes are 75 percent good to excellent with 86 percent of the rows closed, just behind the five-year 91 percent average. Vines dry is 2 percent, near last year’s 1 percent and the five-year 5 percent average.

Dry edible beans in North Dakota are 64 percent good to excellent with 87 percent in bloom and 66 percent setting pods. Dropping leaves is 4 percent. These figures are all a little behind the five-year averages.

In Montana, harvest of dry edible beans has started, with 5 percent in the bin.

Alfalfa is rated 50 percent good to excellent and the second cutting in North Dakota is at 72 percent ahead of the five-year 66 percent average.

Pasture and range in North Dakota, is 45 percent good to excellent and stock water supples are 77 percent adequate to surplus.

In Montana, alfalfa’s second cutting is at 34 percent. Pasture and range are rated 54 percent good to excellent, however, dryness has prompted producers to move an estimated 1 percent of cattle and sheep from the pasture early.

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