NDSU Crop and Pest Report

Plant Science

ISSUE 14   August 5, 2004


Some useful resource sites for producers, crop industry representatives, and others.

Variety Performance Information


Row Crops and Oilseeds Information: Includes: Sunflower, Soybeans, Canola, Corn and Dry Edible Beans


Small Grains Information: Includes: Hard Red Spring Wheat, Durum Wheat, Winter Wheat, Oats, Rye and Triticale.


Crop Production Information - General


NDSU Research/Extension Centers Information


2004 Projected Crop Budgets


ProCrop Agronomic Data Base


North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service - USDA


NDSU Extension Service Biotechnology Information


NDAWN - NDSU Weather Information site




Warm weather is finally here during this summer of 2004 and should help push a number of our specialty crops to maturity. Questions on when to swath and harvest certain alternative crops are being asked.

In most cases the quality of these crops is closely tied to contract prices. Producers must be aware of harvesting practices and timing to insure a high quality product. Below are some comments and suggestions:


Other Information


Swath when lower-most pods are tan colored and rattle when shaken. Thresh when seeds test 18% moisture content or lower. Overdry lentils (8-10%) are hard and difficult to process or consume. Plants may still be green when pods are ripe. Crop typically matures in patches. Some shatter loss usually occurs.

Yellow Field Pea

Swath when pea vines are yellow colored. Thresh when seeds are firm and can no longer be penetrated with thumbnail. 20% moisture content or lower. Some shatter loss usually occurs. Mixing wet soil with peas can cause staining - a discount grading factor.

Green Pea

Swath when peas are mature and have a good green color. Pea vines are yellow colored. If desiccating, apply when vein pattern of uppermost pods is easily recognized and 75% to 90% of the pods have turned to yellow tan. Seeds are firm but no longer penetrable with a thumbnail. Pea vines may or may not be prostrate depending on variety and conditions. 2% bleached peas is maximum. Bleached seeds are caused by high humidity, bright sunshine and warm temperatures.

Feed Pea

Swath when pea vines are yellow colored. Vines are often prostrate. Seeds are firm, but no longer penetrable with a thumbnail. Combine settings and operation are not as critical for feed peas as to human food peas. Admixture of various pea kinds are allowed. Some bleached peas, split, cracked or split peas, and earth tagged peas are accepted for feed peas.

Millet, Proso

Swath when seeds in the upper one-half of the panicle have matured. Seeds in lower portion will be in dough stage but will have less color. Harvest millet when its below 13% moisture. Shatters easily if not cut on time.


Swath when seed moisture content is 25%. Seeds are firm when pressed between fingers. Oriental - 75% yellow seeds. Brown - 60% reddish brown seeds. Yellow (White) - 100% yellow seeds. Straight combine yellow mustard whenever possible. Watch for cracked seeds. Moisture content of seed should be 13% or lower. Swaths are fluffy and subject to wind damage. Lay swaths in direction of prevailing winds. Immature green seed will not change in color in the swath. Use swath roller.


Crop has finished blooming. Seeds heads are tan or brown in color. Leaves and heads are spiny with little green evident. Crop should be straight combined if evenly matured. Mature seed is striped or white and rubs freely from the heads.


75% of the seed coats have turned brown. Flowering is nearly complete. Difficult to penetrate seed with thumbnail. Seeds continue to fill in the windrow or after light frost for about 3 days. Bottom seeds will likely be lost due to shattering. If a killing frost occurs, cut as soon as possible to avoid downed buckwheat plants.


Straw is bleached, hulls are shiny and golden colored. Seeds are reddish-brown. Delay cutting canaryseed until it is fully mature. Canaryseed will not thresh cleanly until the heads are dry. Canaryseed is resistant to shattering and weathering. Dehulled seed is severely discounted.

Duane Berglund
NDSU Extension Agronomist

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