April 13, 2012

Farmers jumping at the chance for an early start

Spring comes to the Bakken
Farmers jumping at the chance for an early start
By Jerry W. Kram
Farmers are taking advantage of the Year Without A Winter to get an early jump on spring’s work this year. On average, farmers started planing their early crops on April 3 in North Dakota, the earliest date in at least a decade. Mountrail County Extension Agent Jim Hennessy said the early start will be good for the area’s farmers as long as they understand the risks of planting early.
“We’re at a point where it’s not too early and it’s not too late,” Hennessy said. “It’s a good time to get started right now. We usually don’t get into the fields until the end of April, so we are probably two weeks ahead of schedule.”
For the last 10 years, the average starting date for farmers in North Dakota usually was between April 14 and 17, but harsh winters last year and in 2009 kept farmers out of the field until May, if they could plant at all. In Mountrail County, Hennessy said, many fields were too wet to get crops planted at all. This year conditions are nearly ideal for an early start to the season.

The Weather Network