Growing Conditions - 2001 Crops Day

Growing Conditions

Hettinger Research Extension Center


The fall of 2000 was very dry, eliminating most fall field work including the seeding of winter wheat. Research plots of HRWW were seeded into dry soil during the second week of October. Heavy show during the last days of October kept growers out of the field for the remainder of the year. December was bitterly cold, followed by a mild January and a bitterly cold February. Rain and snow during the first two weeks of April delayed field work. Record high nitrogen fertilizer prices caused considerable concern throughout the ag. community. Soybean, legumes and crops with lower nitrogen demands saw renewed interest. Field work began during the last week of April and continued without weather interruptions. Hot and windy conditions during the first half of May dried out top soil moisture and left seed in dry soil. Cool and dry conditions persisted throughout the remainder of May. A 28 degree frost on May 25 caused scattered problems in alfalfa. Timely rain during the first week of June sprouted canola and other seed left in dry soils. A hail storm on June 18 destroyed all of the small grain research plots which were in the boot growth stage, and most of the early seeded broadleaf research plots. Recovery of these crops after this devastating storm was absolutely remarkable, although data was not collected on any of the small grain or early seeded broadleaf crops. Hot and dry weather during the first part of July shut off the canola bloom and caused some wheat varieties to show drought stress with curled flag leaves and burning of lower leaves. Heavy rains during mid-July was welcome, providing almost ideal growing conditions for late season crops and finishing the small grain crop. These rains along with warm temperatures also created a serious ascochyta infection in chickpeas, destroying the crop. Small grain harvest began during the first week of August and continued without weather interruptions through completion. Many area growers reported bumper crops with good to excellent quality and topping last year’s bumper crops.

Black stem weevils infested the sunflower crop in the seedling stage causing concern but minimal damage. High levels of thistle caterpillars were observed on canola, sunflowers and soybeans and caused some sunflowers to be replanted. Heavy infestations of alfalfa web caterpillars and army worms were also observed.

All trials at the Hettinger Research Center were planted with a no-till drill. Broadleaf crops were planted into barley stubble and small grain crops were planted into soybean stubble. Soil fertility was determined and fertilizer was applied according to specific yield goals for each crop. Urea (46-0-0) was the primary nitrogen source used and was applied with a no-till drill prior to planting. Monoammonium phosphate (11-52-0) was applied directly with most seed at planting.

All HRSW, durum and barley trials were treated post-emergence for both grass weeds (foxtails and wild oats) and for broadleaf weeds (kochia, Russian thistle and wild buckwheat). Most broadleaf crops were treated with a pre-emergence burn down, and with a post-emergence treatment for grass weeds and broadleaf weeds when possible.

Home|Events|Livestock|Economics|Agronomy|Range|Dakota Ram|Sites|Staff|Mission|Contact