Recent rains welcomed
By Jerry W. Kram
A gray and dismal weekend may have upset some plans for those who wanted to enjoy an early day on the lake, but the rain that accompanied the gloom brightened the day for area farmers, said Mountrail County Ag Agent Jim Hennessy.
"That rain was incredibly important," Hennessy said. "A lot of the pastures in the area were in that fire warning zone. That shot of rain should really help things get off to a good start."
The system that brought the rain to western North Dakota didn’t bring heavy rains, with areas in southern Mountrail County reporting a quarter inch or less. But the slow moving system let the rain soak in and do fields and pasture a lot of good. Statewide, topsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 29 short, 64 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 21 short, 74 adequate, and 3 surplus.
Farmers have taken advantage of the early warm weather that banished snow from the region to get into their fields early. Hennessy said that farmers in the southern half of the county were seeding wheat and barley and are getting ready to start on canola, peas and other early seeded crops.
"By the end of next week I would say that we are going to be going full speed," Hennesy said. "That’s mainly in the southern half of the county. Farther north, there is still frost in the ground. Guys putting in fence are still finding frost six inches down so they will be waiting for a while longer."
Statewide, 41 percent of spring wheat has been planted, compared to 3 percent last year and a five year average of 18 percent. Thirty percent of barley, 30 percent of oats, 21 percent of peas, 11 percent of durum, 9 percent of corn, and 6 percent of canola have been planted. All of these crops are well ahead of where they were last year.