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Above average moisture in July helps crops

Posted 7/22/09 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
The outlook for July, according to the National Weather Service, called for below normal temperatures and slightly below normal precipitation. Below average temperatures have been noticed, and for most people that’s just fine. But when it comes to the National Weather Service’s prediction for below normal moisture, so far it’s the exact opposite.
According to the National Weather Service, normal precipitation for Watford City in July is 2.28 inches ,and as of July 18, the total rainfall for Watford City was 3.38 inches. That’s more than an inch above the month’s normal.
“The moisture has been great for the crops in the area,” says Dale Naze NDSU Extension agent. “The western portion of the county is still slightly dry, but we’ve seen nice rain county-wide in late June and early July so things are looking pretty good.”
Another positive, according to Naze, is the cooler temperatures.
“When temperatures begin to get into the 90s and 100s it’s hard on the crops, especially when there isn’t much humidity,” comments Naze. “If we can keep going with moisture and stay away from the extreme heat it looks like we’ll have a good year.”
When it comes to farming in western North Dakota, extra moisture is nothing to complain about, even if it puts things behind schedule.
“There are a lot of cattle ranchers struggling to get their hay put up because of the rain,” says Naze. “But there aren’t too many complaints because we needed the moisture.”
Getting the hay crop up late doesn’t seem to be affecting the overall quality. According to Naze, it appears that this year the hay crop will be average, and when you compare average to the past couple of years, he says things are looking pretty good for all of the area’s crops.
“Peas and barley are starting to mature in some areas so we could see some harvest start in two to three weeks,” adds Naze. “Overall, I expect harvest to get underway in three to six weeks.”
Right now, Naze says it looks to be a good year for the crops in McKenzie County.
“A lot can happen in six weeks,” says Naze. “But, if things go well weather-wise, it looks like the county will have a good harvest, even though prices are softer this year than they were last year.”