Serious planting delays, due to perpetual cool, rainy weather and saturated soils, continue to challenge producers in the primary U.S. hard red spring wheat production areas of North Dakota and Montana. More than 60 percent of the top soils in North Dakota and Montana are rated as surplus for moisture with South Dakota and Minnesota at 45 percent. As of May 29, only 68 percent of the expected U.S. acreage was planted, up from 54 percent the previous week but well behind last year’s level of 94 percent and the five-year average of 95 percent. Progress is most advanced in South Dakota and Minnesota with more than 90 percent of the crop planted. However, in North Dakota and Montana, only 55 and 59 percent, respectively, have been planted, and another round of two inch plus rain amounts in eastern Montana and northwest North Dakota will delay significant progress until this weekend or early next week.
Producers in the northern areas of Montana and North Dakota will continue to attempt to plant intended spring wheat acres through the first two weeks of June, past the final dates for full crop insurance coverage, but extended forecasts of sporadic rain will limit optimum progress. At this point in the planting season, there is no question that the final level of 2011 U.S. hard red sp
ring wheat acres, will fall well short of March intentions. This picture will become clearer based on planting progress next week, but some estimates are that up to 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) or nearly 15 percent of original intentions may not get planted. Crop emergence is pegged at 40 percent, up from 24 percent the previous week, but well behind the typical level of 80 percent.
The 2011 durum crop in Montana and North Dakota will be much smaller than originally expected due to continued planting delays. The primary durum region in the two states is the area that has been hardest hit by April and May moisture, and was widely impacted again with rains on May 30. As of May 29, only 17 percent of North Dakota’s durum crop had been planted, up from 6 percent last week, but well behind the more typical level of 86 percent. In Montana, only 55 percent of the crop was planted, up from 30 percent the previous week, but still behind the five year average of 88 percent. Final 2011 durum plantings in North Dakota and Montana may only reach 70 percent of original March intentions based on current conditions, and a big portion of the planted acres will need an extended growing season.
Source: ND Wheat Commission