E-Malt.com News article: USA: High grain crop quality in North Dakota
As southern North Dakota farmers start combining small grains harvests -- spring and durum wheat, barley and oats -- the waiting is almost over. This season's weather has been a battle of extremes -- above normal temperatures followed on the heels of heavy rainstorms. Many North Dakota farmers held their breaths, communicated Bismark Tribune, while others speculated on how wet -weather disease and low-soil moisture might affect crop conditions and yield.
"We won't know much until the combines are rolling," said Jim Peterson, marketing director for North Dakota Wheat Commission. "But when Mother Nature creates as much rain and wet weather as we've had, it's difficult to escape without any problems."
Initial harvest reports show crop yields falling below expectations. Peterson estimated a 5 percent to 10 percent drop from last year, when cool weather provided ideal growing conditions in eastern counties.Recent warm temperatures advanced crop development, sapping moisture and lowering bushel weights, he said.
Wet weather disease -- wheat scab, leaf rust and tan spots -- also plague harvest prospects over much of the state, said Duane Berglund, an agronomist with the North Dakota State University extension service office.
Much of the 500,000 bushels of spring and winter wheat in Delane Thom's elevator in Lemmon, S.D., along the state's southwestern border, weighed about 14 percent below average. Thom, general manager for Southwest Grain Division CHS, operates 11 elevators throughout southwestern North Dakota.
Despite heat stressed fields, Thom said the high quality of early crops could off-set the low numbers."We could still have a really good crop," he said. "No one should be discouraged yet."
June showed historically high crop ratings, and Peterson said conditions could improve as harvest progresses.
The state's weekly crop report, released each Monday by the National Agricultural Statistics field office in Fargo, showed 72 percent of the spring wheat crop rated good to excellent. Ratings dropped slightly from last week, but are still ahead of last year. The condition of durum wheat is 57 percent higher than last year.
The state's farmers grow 48.2 percent of the nation's spring wheat -- about 211 million bushels, or 5.7 million tons -- and 70 percent of its durum -- roughly 71 million bushels, or 1.9 million tons.
As of Sunday, spring wheat producers had harvested 2 percent of the state's crop, compared with a 3 percent average over the past four years at this time. Durum wheat matched the 1 percent average harvested, and barley and oats were slightly above average.
05 August, 2005