WISHEK, N.D. – It’s been a late start to planting for farmers across the region and the weather over the latter portions of May continued to dampen any optimism as dry periods for field work were hard to come by.
A string of showers settled in over the south central part of the state during the final week of May – washing away complete days from farmers trying vigorously to get their crops in and wrap up planting season.
“I had some big plans for this week, starting today, and then it rained last night, so we’re now just sitting around doing nothing,” said Adam Bettenhausen during a Memorial Day morning interview.
Adam is frustrated, as are many farmers who continue to experience delays getting their crop in the ground. He had already planted his spring wheat and corn acres, and was getting close to wrapping up soybean planting before the wet weather set in.
“We’ve got 20 percent of our beans left to do, so we’re kind of waiting for some ground to dry out,” he said. “We’re getting to the point now where we’re just seeding what we can seed.”
With the barrage of wet conditions, farmers are forced to simply “prepare for tomorrow.” They get their drills ready, pick up some extra seed and get everything loaded and ready for a moment when they can get going again.
Even with the frustrating start to the season, the Bettenhausens are in an okay position.
“We’re not too bad,” he said. “We decided we’re going to be done with corn. We pretty much got everything in that we wanted to except for a few small fields around the yard, but that’s not a big deal. We’ll just switch them to something else.”
The one fifth of their remaining soybean acres to be planted are being seeded with an early variety, so the lateness isn’t much of a concern. Adam also has sunflowers left to plant, which comprise about 20-25 of the farm, so they’re roughly about two-thirds completed with spring planting as of Memorial Day.
“It’s not crazy late for those two things, so we’re not too bad off,” he explained.
Because of the wet conditions, corn planting took a long time this year, much later than normal for the Bettenhausens.
“A lot of our corn acres were planted into lighter soils, so we were able to get most of it in,” he said. “On this last field we had maybe 15 acres of it we had to leave out. We’re going to see if we can work it a couple of times to try and dry it out, but if not, it will be prevented plant.”