Growing Conditions

Hettinger Research Extension Center


The 1999 growing season will be remembered as a wet year that included all the problems associated with wet conditions; delays in planting and harvesting, weeds, diseases and insects. The Fall of 1998 sustained mild temperatures, a late frost and moist weather conditions. The station recorded 4 inches of rain during October, followed by mild weather throughout November. Hard red winter wheat trials were planted on the last day of September and went into freeze up in excellent condition. Dormant seeded trials (HRWW and Canola) were planted during the first week of December and soil freeze up occurred shortly thereafter. The winter months were generally open with little snow cover and mild temperatures. Frost under black fallow went out during the last week of February.

March was dry and cool. Some field work was being done during the end of March and first week of April. A blizzard during the second week of April delayed field work for a couple of weeks. Rain showers and windy conditions throughout May caused sporadic planting and left many growers unable to apply their pre-emergence burn down prior to crop emergence. Small grain planting in some areas continued through June as well as most of the areas row crops.

A hail storm with strong winds on June 26 caused severe crop losses to the west of Hettinger and just nicked the research plots causing minor damage, although the buckwheat trials were completely destroyed. The sunflower trials located east of Reeder sustained moderated damage resulting in a short crop with reduced yields.

Rainfall was abundant throughout the growing season with April and May each receiving over 2 inches and the months of June, July and August each receiving over 3 inches. The mid-season rains and warm temperatures caused ideal conditions for small grain foliar diseases. Leaf rust, tan spot and septoria were severe in some commonly grown varieties and resulted in severe yield loses. Ascochyta blight was common and severe in most chickpea fields causing poor quality and severely reducing yields. Late season rainfall caused grain sprouting, poor grain quality and delays in harvest.

Reports of insect problems were abundant. Early season army worms caused severe damage to several alfalfa and canola fields. A few areas reported heavy grasshopper populations. Reports of European corn borers in corn and millet, aphids in canola and stem weevils in sunflowers were also common.

All trials at the Hettinger Research Center were planted with a no-till drill. Alternative crops were planted into HRSW stubble and small grain trials were planted into either field pea or 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. Diammonium phosphate (18-46-0) 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). All broadleaf crops were treated with a pre-emergence burn down, and with a post emergence treatment for grass weeds and broadleaf weeds when possible.

Back to 1999 Variety Data

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