(KXNET) — Farmers across North Dakota can look forward to wetter soil when they’re growing their crops this year.
For the past few years, North Dakota has seen drought conditions impacting farmers nationwide. But after much-needed moisture, things are starting to look up.
“We’ve actually had an improvement in the drought conditions over the past week, as to be expected with the excessive amount of snowfall that we’ve seen across the state and then with the melting as well. So we’ve been replenishing the soil moisture and the drought conditions have lessened,” said Paige Brummund, the extension agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Ward County NDSU Extension Center.
Brummund says this is the time of year producers are usually gearing up to plant; however, with the rapid snow melt and with snow still in the forecast, they’ll be in the fields planting a little later.
“I think statewide we’re behind schedule already. So some areas of the state typically would be in the fields already. Here in Ward County, we would like to be in the field by the end of April, early May and some delays are definitely expected, possibly some acres that are gonna be pretty challenging to access this spring,” said Brummund.
When the planting season is delayed, the growing season could potentially be shorter. And depending on how late of a start farmers get, Brummund says they need to plan ahead.
“It gets tricky and every producer kind of needs to look at what they’re intending on planting, what their acres look like, and start to just play those scenarios out in their head and make some plans for what happens if I can’t get in the fields. So do I switch to a different crop that can maybe be planted a little bit later and still get a yield? Do we look at different crop options,” said Brummund.
And while soil conditions are looking good this year, Brummund says there’s no way to tell what we can expect for the next growing season.
“It really can change quickly. So if we look over the course of the last even five, six years, we’ve been in extreme droughts and then we’ve dealt with excessive moisture, dealt with flooding, and then back to a drought again. So just because we have an extremely dry summer and we have some drought instances, doesn’t mean that we don’t all of a sudden get excessive moisture and deal with too wet,” said Brummund.
Brummund says the NDSU website also has flood and drought resources.