durum planting file photo

Durum wheat going onto Tom Wheeler's field in the Ray area just ahead of last week's rain.

Crops are greening up on the strength of the 1 to 3 inches of rain that fell a little more than a week ago, but there are still spotty and uneven stands in many fields, and whether that moisture is going to be enough to get crops through the coming heat wall is questionable.

“I am very concerned about the high temps today through Saturday,” Williston Research Extension Center’s cropping specialist Dr. Clair Keene told the Williston Herald. “If we’re close to 90 today and 100 for two days with no rain, it could very well be enough to kill already struggling crops. I think for fields on the brink, and still in very early development, this heat could kill them.”

If, however, the heat comes with thunderstorms, it could be helpful. Unfortunately, the forecast shows low chances of that.

“(It) has really greened up after the rain. The seed laying in dry soil is up above ground now. The forecasted heat will hurt the crop and pastures,” Tom Wheeler, farming in the Ray area said. “But gotta keep praying for rain.”

Meanwhile, nearly 75 percent of North Dakota and Montana’s spring wheat crop has emerged — lagging the rest of the U.S. sprig wheat crop which is 80 percent out of the ground and growing.

Just 31 percent of North Dakota’s spring wheat crop is rated good to excellent, while in Montana, 59 percent is rated good, but none excellent. That compares to a 43 percent good to excellent condition rating nationally for spring wheat — the lowest rating at this point since 1988.

Conditions across wheat country vary widely, though. In Minnesota, for example, 80 percent of the crop rates good to excellent.

Durum wheat, meanwhile, is 88 percent planted and about half of that has emerged. The recent rain has helped that crop tremendously — but it’s going to take more timely precipitation to carry this crop through the growing season. There was no crop condition rating for durum in this week’s USDA report.

Winter wheat, on the other hand, is rated 46 percent good to excellent in Montana and 30 percent good to excellent in North Dakota.

Three-quarters of North Dakota continues to lie in extreme to exceptional drought, which are the two highest drought ratings. The rest of the state ranges from abnormally dry in the southeast tip to severe and moderate drought everywhere else.

The hardest hit area is centered over McClean and McHenry counties, and spreading out from there. It hasn’t reached Williams County yet, but has extended into neighboring Mountrail.

Here’s a look at how other crops are going and growing in the MonDak:

Barley, rated 63 percent good in Montana, is 89 percent planted and 71 percent emerged. In North Dakota, barley is 30 percent good to excellent and it’s 97 percent planted and 76 percent emerged.

Canola, meanwhile, is 72 percent planted and 36 percent emerged in Montana with as yet no crop condition rating. In North Dakota, the canola is 83 percent planted — ahead of 72 percent last year — and it’s 33 percent emerged, ahead of 27 percent last year, but behind the 48 percent average.

Corn inn Montana is 64 percent planted and 28 percent emerged with no condition rating yet. In North Dakota, corn is 93 percent in the ground and 63 percent emerged, with a crop condition rating of 48 percent good to excellent.

Dry edible beans are 78 percent planted in Montana and 62 percent emerged. They’re 76 percent planted in North Dakota, with 63 percent emerged. No crop rating given yet.

Dry edible peas, are 86 percent planted in Montana and 62 percent emerged with a crop rating of 71 percent good. In North Dakota, they are 89 percent planted, close to averages, and 63 percent emerged.

Flaxseed in Montana is 69 percent planted and 43 percent emerged, while in North Dakota it is 83 percent planted and 34 percent emerged. These are near averages.

Montana lentils are 88 percent planted and 61 percent emerged, while mustard is 89 percent planted and 55 percent emerged. These are slightly ahead of average.

Montana safflower is 50 percent planted and 15 percent emerged.

North Dakota potatoes are 95 percent planted, ahead of 78 percent last year and the five-year 87 percent average. Emerged is 47 percent, well ahead of 11 percent last year and 19 percent average.

Oats, meanwhile, are 86 percent planted and 56 percent emerged in Montana, while they are 95 percent planted and 72 percent emerged in North Dakota. The condition rating is 26 percent good to excellent in North Dakota. No rating was given for Montana.

Montana safflower is 50 percent planted, ahead of the five-year 44 percent average, and 15 percent emerged, which si behind the five-year 19 percent average.

North Dakota soybeans, meanwhile, are 88 percent planted, well ahead of 48 percent last year and ahead of the five-year 73 percent average. They are 45 percent emerged, well ahead of 11 percent last year and ahead of the five-year 28 percent average.

North Dakota sunflowers are 56 planted, ahead of 37 percent last year and the 51 percent average. Emerged is 11 percent, ahead of 3 percent last year, and equal to average.

Montana sugar beets are 83 percent planted and 58 percent emerged. The latter is a little behind the five-year 64 percent average.

For pasture and range, in North Dakota 9 percent is rated good, 24 percent fair, and the rest, 67 percent is poor to very poor. In Montana, 14 percent of pasture and range are rated good to excellent, 30 percent fair, and the rest, 56 percent is poor to very poor.

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