sunflower file photo

Sunflowers can weather temperatures as low as 25 degrees. Below that, immature seed can lose seed-filling potential.

The 2020 wheat crop is largely in the bin, with USDA reporting 76 percent of spring wheat in North Dakota and 84 percent of spring wheat in Montana harvested. Durum, similarly, was reported as 71 percent harvested in North Dakota and 75 percent in Montana.

“There may be a few stragglers left out in the field, but in my recent drives around most small grains are harvested,” NDSU cropping specialist Dr. Clair Keene told the Williston Herald.

Few harvest and minimal quality issues are being reported by producers, with about half of crop quality samples analyzed so far by the NDSU wheat quality lab.

Their data show protein around 14.6 percent or so, which is down from last week, but above the usual average.

Test weights are around 61.7 pounds per bushel and total defects, such as shrunken or broken kernels, are lower than lsat year at around 1.2 percent on average.

Falling numbers are high, around 385 seconds on average. The grade so far is No. 1 Northern Spring. Average vitreous kernel content is at 62 percent.

Durum is also showing better quality than last year. Protein is around 14.1 percent, which is about half a point higher than last year. The thousand kernel weight is around 47.6 grams, compared to 44.3 last year. Falling numbers are averaging 417 seconds. Test weights are 62.1 pounds per bushel and vitreous kernel content is 87 percent. The crop grades to a No. 1 Hard Amber Durum.

Winter wheat is 95 percent harvested in North Dakota and 97 percent in Montana.

The recent cold snap won’t likely affect whatever wheat is still out in the field, with 97 percent of the spring wheat crop and 94 percent of the durum crop reported as mature.

However, the picture is more complicated for corn, soybeans and sunflowers.

“Most soybean fields in the western part of the county where we’ve been the driest were already turning yellow, so I don’t expect any yield loss on those,” Keene said. “If a soybean field was still green, like they are out in the Ray area/Mountrail County and places that got more rain than us here, the top pods that weren’t yet filled won’t. Soybeans are very frost sensitive.”

Sunflowers, meanwhile, do have some frost tolerance, and most fields had already begun to dry and could weather temperatures as low as 25 degrees without suffering too much.

“However, I saw on NDAWN that Alamo got down to 17 degrees, so that is cold enough to have stopped most seed fill,” Keene said.

Fields that weren’t very far along have probably also lost some potential for filling out seed as a result of any temperatures below 25.

“For corn, it depends on maturity,” Keene said. “I don’t think most corn would have been mature yet, so less than 29 degrees would likely damage it and prevent kernels from filling out,” Keene said. “If the corn were immature and the farmer had less than 29 degrees, I’d recommend considering chopping it for silage, rather than leaving it to dry for grain.”

Here’s a look at how other crops are faring based on the latest USDA report for the week ending Sept. 6:

North Dakota soybeans are rated 64 percent good to excellent, with dropping leaves at 34 percent, near the five-year 36 percent average.

Corn, meanwhile, is rated at 63 percent good to excellent, with mature at 6 percent, ahead of 1 percent last year, but near the 8 percent average.

Corn for silage in Montana is rated 78 percent good to excellent and is 20 percent harvested.

North Dakota canola is rated 62 percent good to excellent with 46 percent harvested. That’s ahead of 34 percent last year, but well behind the five-year 64 percent average.

Montana canola is 65 percent harvested.

Montana sugarbeets are rated 81 percent good to excellent, while North Dakota sugarbeets are rated 92 percent good to excellent with 7 percent harvested, near 9 percent last year and the five-year average.

North Dakota oats are 85 percent harvested, ahead of 68 percent last year, but near the five-year 89 percent average.

Montana oats are 83 percent harvested, well ahead of last year’s 66 percent, but equal to the five-year average.

North Dakota barley is 87 percent, ahead of 76 percent last year, but near the five-year 91 percent average. Montana barley is 80 percent harvested, ahead of last year’s is close to the five-year 87 percent average.

Dry edible peas in North Dakota are 89 percent harvested, near 88 percent last year.

In Montana, dry edible peas are 98 percent harvested.

North Dakota sunflowers, meanwhile, are 58 percent good to excellent with bracts turned brown at 10 percent, which is near the five-year 9 percent average.

Montana safflower is rated 45 percent good, with 51 percent fair and 4 percent poor. That’s with 25 percent harvested, which is ahead of the five-year 20 percent average.

Montana mustard, meanwhile, is 67 percent harvested.

North Dakota flaxseed is 64 percent good to excellent with 45 percent of the crop harvested. That is behind the five-year 55 percent average.

In Montana, flaxseed is 58 percent harvested, exactly equal with the five-year average.

North Dakota potato is rated 73 percent good to excellent with the harvest at 3 percent, near the five-year 6 percent average.

Dry edible beans in North Dakota are rated 57 percent good to excellent with harvest at 11 percent, which is well behind the five-year 24 percent average.

In Montana, dry edible beans are 65 percent harvested, behind the five-year 73 percent average.

North Dakota lentils are 64 percent harvested, just behind the five-year 70 percent average, while Montana lentils are further along at 95 percent harvested.

Pasture and range in North Dakota are rated 29 percent good to excellent with stock water supplies rated 66 percent adequate to surplus.

In Montana, pasture and range are 25 percent good to excellent, as compared to the five-year average 32 percent good to excellent. The second cutting of alfalfa hay is at 84 percent.

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