May 15, 2013

After long delay, spring seeding now underway

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

Last year’s early spring gave area farmers plenty of time to get their spring seed in the ground. But this year’s late snow and cold temperatures have area producers going all out to get their spring seed in.
“The farmers have only been in the fields for about a week and a half,” states NDSU Extension Agent Calli Thorne.
And the reason for the late start with spring seeding, according to Beau Wisness, an area farmer, is late snow and cold temperatures.
“We have a shorter window to get our spring seeding done this year than we had last year,” states Wisness. “Last year the temperatures were in the 70s in April and we were able to get going a lot sooner last year.”
Wisness states that the winter actually hasn’t been the problem. It’s been the spring.
“This winter was much better than the one we had two years ago. But for being such a mild winter, it just dragged on into the spring months,” states Wisness.
Joel Ransom, an NDSU Extension agronomist, wants area producers to know that getting into their fields later than normal could cause a reduction in their yields.
“The biggest concern with late planting small-grain crops, such as wheat and barley, is that they will develop when temperatures are warmer than optimum, so yields will be reduced,” states Ransom.
Ransom states that the optimum planting dates range from the second week in April in southern counties to the first week in May for counties bordering Canada. But for some regions of North Dakota, the optimum planting dates may have already passed.
According to Ransom, there is a three- to four-week window beyond the optimum planting dates where reasonable yields can still be achieved.
“Expect a yield loss of 1.5 percent per day beyond the optimum for wheat and a 1.7 percent per day for barley,” states Ransom. “However, if the weather stays cool, there may be little or no yield reduction if planting takes place as soon as fields can be planted.”
Both Mike Jenks of Taylor Ag Services and Wisness state that area farmers are working to do just that.
“What farmers usually do in six weeks will happen in roughly four weeks this year,” states Jenks. “It will be a lot of long days and short nights this season for the farmers.”
Jenks and Wisness also state that area producers are working hard to have their seeding done by the first week of June for insurance purposes.
“Every crop has its own deadline date. Then after that there is a penalty period,” states Dennis Anderson of Farmers Union Insurance. “Not only that, but different counties can have varying final seeding dates, depending on how far north or south they are.”
According to Anderson, producers can seed after the final planting date for their crops, but there is a penalty for doing so.
Jenks states that by the end of last week, farmers were more than likely aiming to have peas and canola in the ground. Those who produce corn were also working to get that planted as well.
After those are finished being seeded, Jenks states that producers will most likely start working on their spring wheat and durum.
“The area has a lot of good moisture and it makes for a good start for seeding,” states Jenks.
Which is why area farmers are not looking for rain right now. According to Wisness, rain would only cause delays and slow things down.
Some other obstacles that seem to be slowing producers with a limited time frame are traffic and garbage.
“We are having to dodge a lot of traffic to get things done. It is as bad out here as I’ve ever seen it,” states Wisness. “And the trash and litter seem to be really bad this year, too.”
Despite these facts, Jenks is confident in the area farmers.
“This crop will go in the ground,” states Jenks. “The farmers will get done what they need to get done.”