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A North Dakota disaster-Ray Grabanski

Ray Grabanski 06/16/2011 @ 7:30am President, Progressive Ag www.progressiveag.com

This week's rain events, across the northern Plains and North Dakota, likely ended the planting season for the state, leaving a tremendous amount of unplanted HRS wheat, barley, and durum acreage unseeded for the year.  

While much was made during the season about the plight of corn acreage (and USDA cut corn planted acreage 1.5 million acres), in the final analysis Pro Ag figures it was the small grains that took the brunt of the loss in planted acreage from intentions. 

In ND, roughly 20 million acres are typically available for planting the nine major crops (and 2.5 mln acres of hay harvested), but it appears that the best estimate of unplanted acreage is about 25% of the total available acreage.  That means essentially up to 5 million acres of production were lost in ND.  But little of that will be corn acreage, where all the attention was placed, and instead it's likely that perhaps only about 10-13% of corn acreage was lost. When applied to the intended 2.5 million acres of corn, leaving only about 300,000 acres of corn unplanted. 

However, the numbers get larger when you consider crops such as durum or HRS wheat unplanted acreage. You see, it wasn't the eastern third of ND (where soybeans and corn are planted) that had the most prevented planting (which is typically the case, the east being the wetter portion of the state).  Instead, the eastern third probably had only about 10-15% of total acreage left unplanted, and it's likely the way the season unfolded that most of that land lost was HRS wheat and barley acreage, as there really was no early season of planting.  Instead, farmers launched right into corn planting, and much of that got done or was switched to soybean acreage. If 10% of soybean acreage was lost (perhaps high with soybeans being a crop that would have gained acreage from late planting), with 4.35 million intended acreage that would be a loss of 435,000 acres.  

The middle-third of the state essentially probably had about 25% of the land unplanted, with some large segments in certain areas (it's estimated that Ward County in Minot, ND only got about 30% or so of its acreage planted).  From Minot to Bismarck, it appears there were problems with planting all the way, which is unusual for this typically relatively dry area.

The worst affected area was essentially typically the driest, the western third of the state, with estimates ranging from 25% to 50% of the land remaining unplanted, with the southwest suffering considerable losses in acreage in certain areas.  Essentially, this is mostly HRS wheat and barley acreage that was lost, with some sunflowers and a little corn mixed into the pot with the other major ND crops.   

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perventive planting ND 06/16/2011 @ 10:26am I think your estimate may be to high on the number of acres planted before the final numbers come in. I think this acreage estimates is by driving by on the roads seeing the land is planted but if you seriously start looking even at what got planted in the state there is acreage left even in the planted fields that was left to be planted later if it dryed up well its never happened. I willing to bet on average there's 5 to 10% left unplanted even in the fields that were planted so the actual acreage planted maybe much less. These figures won't come out until after acreage sign up and they get factored into PP. I also think the 25% acreage is too low. Even in RR valley there's alot of acreage not planted its been better around fargo and Grand Forks but north there been quite struggle going on getting land planted. Also in centeral part of the state there's water standing in fields and even where there were potholes there much bigger than were last year or over the last several years. I think people not out in country are just more optmistic we farmes got more planted but this unique year. Now we haven't even talked about condition some there crops were planted into. The market is just going to take time realize how much crop is not going to get produced this year.

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