|The following is reprinted from the North Dakota Wheat Commission Crop Progress Report of July 29.|
Harvest of the 2008 U.S. hard red spring wheat crop has begun, but with only 1 percent harvested as of July 27, it remains about a week to ten days behind the 2007 pace of 7 percent complete by this date and 6 percent for a five-year average. The only state to report harvest activity is North Dakota, where 2 percent of the crop has been harvested, just slightly behind 4 percent typically completed by late July. Harvest should accelerate across the region in the next two weeks especially in areas where drought has pushed crop maturity, and if favorable temperatures and dry conditions prevail. As of July 27, 59 percent of the North Dakota crop is turning ripe, along with 49 and 44 of the Montana and Minnesota crop's, respectively. However, in South Dakota, which is usually the first state to make significant harvest progress, continued wet weather and a late developing crop has pushed crop ripening and harvest progress well behind normal. Typically 30 percent of the states crop has been harvested by late July, compared to none this year, and nearly 60 percent is ripe by this time, compared to only 11 percent. Soil moisture conditions did improve in many areas of the region this past week, even in drought stressed western areas due to heavy thunderstorms. However, with nearly the entire crop now fully headed and more than half now entering the ripening stage of development, an extended period of drier conditions would be welcome in most areas to secure a sound, high quality harvest.
The overall crop ratings declined from the previous week, with only 60 percent rated good to excellent compared to 63 percent, and 13 percent rated poor to very poor, versus 8 percent the previous week. The entire decline is attributed to worsening crop ratings in North Dakota, where 17 percent of the crop is now rated poor to very poor and only 54 percent good to excellent, due to drought stressed crops in the western part of the state. Montana crop ratings stabilized from the previous week with 52 percent its crop rated good to excellent. Both Minnesota and South Dakota saw improvements in their crop ratings, with 86 percent of Minnesota's crop now rated good to excellent and 75 percent of South Dakota's crop rated good to excellent.