Drought Hinders Harvest For Area Farmers

This year in McKenzie County harvest was “a little tough” for producers. One of the driest years to date in 127 years with soil moisture low and poor crop conditions. 

“Several crops were turned into forage for livestock because there was not enough of the crop to make any kind of desirable yield. Seed heads only filled part way before curing off and most small grain crops – aside from corn- had very low yields. Wheat was around the 5-to-15-bushel rate. That’s highly variable, but that’s the truth,” said Devan Leo, McKenzie County Agricultural and Natural Resource Agent.

Many of the crops that were turned into forage for livestock were tested through NDSU Vet Diagnostic lab to ensure the nitrate levels were lower in the forages. Leo explained that many tested “ok.” “Most crop fields have a test strip left in them for insurance claims. Soybeans are not insured at this time and the dryland crops were in pretty tough shape.” 

The drought this year has been exceptionally hard on farmers in the area. It has been devastating across the board, with not enough moisture to sustain crops to create a desirable crop yield. Leo said that insurance is going to play a pivotal role in success or failure for many crop farmers this year.

She suggests crop rotation in crop fields; greater diversity in crop rotations can boost crop production over time, despite conditions of drought or excess moisture. 

In addition to this she cautions producers that are shipping in hay from other states or different parts of North Dakota need to be cautious about where the feed source is coming from. 

Leo said, “We may temporarily fix our feed shortage, but in turn, cause a permanent debilitating weed problem on our property. Palmer amaranth and water hemp are two that I can think of that may make it onto our properties here in a bale of forage. Please be diligent and cautious when shipping in feedstuffs.”


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