The drought affecting the Dakotas this summer continues to impact crops and pasture conditions, despite rains that fell late last week. That’s according to the weekly Crop Progress numbers released Monday by the National Ag Statistic Service. In the agency’s weekly crop progress report, the both North and South Dakota as well as Montana garnered national attention as ratings of Hard Red Spring wheat fell a whopping 10% week over week to just 45% good to excellent and the lowest rating since the historic drought of 1988.
The worst hit area continues to be South Dakota where Hard Red Spring is now rated 57% poor to very poor and just 11% good to excellent. Montana was the next hardest hit, now 31% poor to very poor and 23% good to excellent down sharply from 43% good to excellent just one week ago. North Dakota reported 45% good to excellent and 17% poor to very poor with the Northeastern corner providing most of the support in ratings.
For livestock producers, there wasn’t much good news either. South Dakota showed some minor improvements with pasture and range conditions improving by 5% out of the poor to very poor category. Still 45% of the state is reporting heavily stressed grazing areas with another 29% considered only fair. In North Dakota, 53% of the state is reporting poor to very poor pasture and range land with only 18% good to excellent.
Other crops weren’t exempt as South Dakota corn conditions were 45% good to excellent with North Dakota 58% good to excellent. Nationally, however, things looked much better with 67% of the crop rated good to excellent and broad coverage of rains through this week expected to improve that number next Monday. Despite the wet start for much of Illinois and Indiana, producers there are reporting the further moisture will be welcome.
Monday was also the initial release of soybean conditions for the 2017 season. At 66% good to excellent, the crop is just below the five year average of 68%, but still viewed to be in “ok” shape, according to analysts.