North Dakota harvest strong as midwest suffers from widespread drought

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 7:19 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Last April, after record-breaking blizzards blanketed the state with snow, only a few farmers would have guessed North Dakota would be set up for record breaking harvests this fall.

For North Dakota farmers, their patience and persistence paid off. After last summer’s drought, then back-to-back blizzards this spring pushed back planting, many thought the ground would be too wet to plant crops that would mature in time for the fall harvest. Thankfully, that’s not the case.

“Some guys it’s probably double the yield they had last year; I mean a lot of guys didn’t even harvest last year. Guys that did, you know this year’s yield are double and in some cases triple,” said Jim Peterson with the North Dakota Wheat Commission.

Recently drought conditions have returned to some areas of North Dakota, but some producers say it’s too early to worry.

“Well, you know, I’m not too concerned about the drought right now, we’ve been catching some pretty good rain showers here in the last month. We’ve got a lot of winter to go through yet, just kind of depends on how much snow we get,” said Clark Coleman of DJ Coleman Farms which is north of Bismarck.

With states like Kansas and Oklahoma experiencing severe drought the wheat harvest in the Midwest has been dismal. North Dakota’s wheat, although lower in protein this year still looks good due to the massive yields. Looking internationally, the outlook for demand is still strong.

“Internationally the E.U. also ran into some really dry conditions, parts of France and Italy, so that’s opened up some opportunities. But as in any year there’s always challenges,” added Peterson.

Those challenges concern Russia, and the Black Sea region. Wheat in those regions is the cheapest in the world but due to the war production is uncertain. Looking to the holiday season, Jim Peterson doesn’t expect any food shortages due to the availability of wheat.

He said things like packaging supplies and drivers to move the goods would be more of a concern.