sunflowers in Williston

Rain has been helpful for sunflowers, which are hitting peak growth this time of year.

Rain the past two weeks has beaten back a moderate drought in the MonDak, though the region continues to remain abnormally dry, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

In North Dakota, areas experiencing moderate drought decreased 35 percent to just 15 percent. None of Williams or Richland County, Montana show any areas of moderate drought.

Despite the improvement, however, June was still the 30th driest overall for North Dakota, and, when April and May rainfall are included, it is the 9th driest period on record.

Rain has been timely for corn, soybeans, and sunflowers, which are at that time of year when they reach peak growth stages. While mostly late for small grains and hay and forage, however, rain is still mighty welcome.

Wade Fischer, in the Grenora area, said there were four different rains totaling 3.5 inches for him.

“It has been a big turnaround,” he said. “Went from a very most likely crop insurance year to can’t wait to cut this good-looking crop.”

Tom Wheeler, farming in the Ray area, said that wheat is holding on and that Canola is in full flower and looking better, thanks to rain.

“Soybeans are growing, lentils look good,” he said. “Early peas are short, but later peas look very good. The moderate temperatures are helping. Rain is needed, and high temperatures would hurt.”

Spring wheat condition this week remained unchanged from last week at 61 percent good to excellent, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report. In Montana, meanwhile, spring wheat condition dropped slightly to 79 percent from 82 percent.

A majority of spring wheat is headed out now, at 79 percent in North Dakota. That’s 20 percent more than last week, though the figure is still behind the five-year 86 percent average.

In Montana, spring wheat is 68 percent headed out, an 18 percent increase over last week’s 50 percent, but slightly behind the five-year 74 percent average.

Durum wheat is rated 69 percent excellent in North Dakota, a slight improvement over last week’s 66 percent. In Montana, durum condition jumped 12 percent to 50 percent good to excellent over last week’s 38 percent.

Just 50 percent of durum is headed out in Montana, versus the five-year 67 percent average, while in North Dakota, durum is 75 percent headed, near the five-year 72 percent average.

Winter wheat in North Dakota is 50 percent good to excellent, down from last week’s 58 percent rating, with 45 percent turning color, behind the five-year 54 percent average.

Montana winter wheat is 78 percent good to excellent, which is up from 53 percent last week. That’s with 62 percent turning color, behind the five-year 75 percent average.

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

North Dakota soybeans are 67 percent good to excellent, down 2 percent from last week. They are 31 percent in bloom, behind the five-year 41 percent average. About 2 percent are setting pods, near the 5 percent average.

In Montana, Corn is 80 percent good to excellent, down slightly from last week’s 82 percent, while in North Dakota, corn is 70 percent good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from last week.

North Dakota canola is 63 percent good to excellent, down from 70 percent last week, with 84 percent in bloom, just behind the five-year 91 percent average. Coloring is 4 percent, also behind the five-year 11 percent average.

Montana canola, meanwhile, is 74 percent in bloom and 8 percent turning color, the latter well behind the five-year 26 percent average.

Montana sugar beets are rated 75 percent good to excellent, down slightly from last week’s 78 percent. North Dakota sugar beet condition is unchanged from last week’s 97 percent good to excellent.

North Dakota oats are 55 percent good to excellent this week, down from last week’s 61 percent. It is 75 percent headed out, behind the five-year 83 percent average. Coloring was 8 percent, also behind the 21 percent average.

Montana oats are 74 percent good to excellent down a percentage point from last week. The crop is 80 percent booted, 56 percent flowering and 10 percent turning color. These numbers are a little behind five-year averages.

North Dakota barley is 64 percent good to excellent, one percent better than last week. Headed is 77 percent, the same as last year but behind the five-year 89 percent average. Coloring is 9 percent, also behind the 22 percent average.

Barley in Montana is 78 percent good to excellent, down from 87 percent last week, with 92 percent booted, 72 percent headed and 5 percent changing color. The five-year average for headed is 76 percent.

Dry edible peas in North Dakota are 70 percent good to excellent this week, down from 76 percent last week. That’s with 87 percent of the crop in bloom, which is about equal to average. Dropping leaves is 3 percent, behind the 10 percent average.

In Montana, the dry edible peas are 85 percent in bloom, close to last year’s 84 percent, and the crop condition is rated 83 percent good to excellent, the same as last week.

North Dakota sunflowers are 59 percent good to excellent, down from 67 percent last week. About 94 percent have emerged, and 2 percent are in bloom. This is behind the five-year 98 and 7 percent average, respectively.

Montana safflower is 90 percent emerged and 30 percent in bloom, which is ahead of last year. Blooms are slightly behind the five-year 32 percent average. The crop is 68 percent good to excellent.

North Dakota flaxseed condition is 71 percent good to excellent, down from 79 percent last week, with 68 percent in bloom, near the five-year 71 percent average. Coloring is 1 percent, near the five-year 4 percent average.

In Montana, flaxseed is 65 percent in bloom, behind the five-year 77 percent average.

Montana lentils, meanwhile, are 86 percent in bloom with 86 percent of the crop rated good to excellent. That’s up from last week’s 75 percent good to excellent.

Montana mustard is 74 percent in bloom with 10 percent turning color.

North Dakota potato is 64 percent good to excellent with blooms at 58 percent near the five-year 50 percent average. Rows closed is at 13 percent. Last week’s condition was 65 percent good to excellent.

Dry edible beans in North Dakota are 61 percent good to excellent, down from 64 percent last week. Blooms were 23 percent, behind the five-year 32 percent average. Setting pods is at 2 percent, near 1 percent last year. Dry beans in Montana, meanwhile, are 58 percent in bloom.

Alfalfa is rated 47 percent good to excellent and the second cutting is at 6 percent, near the 8 percent average.

North Dakota pasture and range is 55 percent good to excellent, with stock water supplies rated 85 percent adequate to surplus.

Montana pasture and range are 62 percent good to excellent, and the first cut of alfalfa is at 63 percent.

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