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Corn crop

The stalks of a stunted corn crop wave in the wind in 2012 with the mid-day sun beating down south of Mandan. 

Drought conditions over the past month have been wreaking havoc on corn and soybean crops in central North Dakota.

“Earlier in August I had guys getting concerned about how drought was going to affect their crop yields,” said McLean County North Dakota State University Extension Agent Calla Edwards.

As harvest grows nearer for late season crops, Edwards said it looks like soybeans and corn are being affected.

“Yields are definitely going to be lower than what was expected earlier in the summer,” said Edwards, pointing out that, just over the past week, soybeans have been browning and losing their leaves.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, 41.7 percent of the state is in moderate drought, with a large chunk of McHenry County in north central North Dakota creeping into severe drought.

This latest update adds most of McLean, Sheridan and Wells counties to the moderate drought conditions list when compared to last week. Burke and Renville counties in the northwest also joined the ranks, as did southern Burleigh County.

“A lot of soybeans have started to drop leaves and corn is drying; while in the east, it’s still mostly green,” said Burleigh County NDSU Extension Agent Beth Budolski.

Budolski has gotten calls of concern from livestock producers worried about nitrate in their hay and wanting to get it tested.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates North Dakota farmers planted 6.6 million acres of soybeans and 3.35 million acres of corn.

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Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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Business Reporter