ISSUE 4    May 25, 2006

Southwest ND

Rainfall has been scattered through the week at the time this was written (May 23). Nearly all of the NDAWN locations in southwestern North Dakota received less than 0.25 inches of rainfall except for Mandan, 0.39 inches, and Watford City, 0.53 inches for the week. Hettinger and Mott did not receive any rain. Wind the last couple of days has kept herbicide applicators out of the field but expectations are post emergent applications will resume when the weather cooperates.

Small grain plantings are essentially complete and corn is nearly all seeded in all areas of southwest North Dakota. Sunflower seeding began late last week and is continuing into this week. Alfalfa has grown to a height of 14 to 20 inches this past week due to the warm temperatures though in areas where freeze injury occurred two weeks ago, it is about 6 to 8 inches tall. Cool season grasses such as smooth brome and crested wheat are short and beginning to head in some areas.

Emergence problems of wheat have been reported in fields under tilled, reduced till and no-till systems. In tilled systems primarily with later plantings, seed is laying in dry soils even though subsoil moisture conditions are good. Rain is forecast the next few days and this problem may solve itself. In tilled, reduced till, or no-till systems, there have been instances where the seed has rotted. This is found primarily in fields where seedings were made shortly before or after April 17th rains. Planting was done before fields had a chance to dry sufficiently and the problem was compounded where a drill tire track occurs. Even in southwest North Dakota, soils can be too wet at times and a little patience is needed to allow excess moisture to drain away so smearing of the soil and compaction can be avoided. Corn emergence has also been reported as slow or erratic in the Beulah-Center-Mandan area in tilled fields due to dry soil conditions and cold temperatures. Pastures are dry and many producers are hoping for a nice rain to solve some of our production issues.

Roger Ashley
Area Extension Specialist/Cropping Systems
Dickinson Research Extension Center
(701) 483-2349

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