July 19, 2012

Dry conditions could complicate crop picture

Dry conditions could complicate crop picture

Heat, insects affecting crops and pastures

By Jerry W. Kram

The impact of the region’s year without a winter continues to reverberate for area farmers. Area fields of winter wheat and barley are very close to being ready for harvest because of the early spring. But the lack of snow has also left the region vulnerable to dry weather. Despite scattered showers around the area, this week’s 90+ degree heat could have a negative impact on crop production, says Mountrail County Extension Agent Jim Hennessy.
According to the North Dakota Crop Weather Report, about 2 percent of the barley crop has been harvested. Over the last five years, the crop was just starting to turn. That puts the crop development about two weeks ahead of schedule. Farmers across the state have also started to harvest other small grains such as spring wheat and oats. Hennessy said the wheat and barley are 10 days to two weeks ahead of schedule in Mountrail County.
Hennessy said that small grains that were planted later are in a vulnerable stage right now. The heads are filling and the plants need moisture to develop plump, high quality grain.
“As far as yields are concerned we are looking at average to above average – if we get a drink of rain rain in the next few days,” Hennessy said. “If that happens we should be sitting pretty nice. We’re dry. That’s why I say we need a shot of water. Otherwise we’re going to be in trouble pretty quick. We need the moisture so the crops can fill the heads and not have test weight issues.”

The Weather Network