Resilient Plants, Hopeful Farmers

There are three North Dakota soybean fields that I’ve looked over every few weeks this growing season. Tracking their progress has given me a little more insight into how the region’s crops are progressing overall.

The three fields reached the middle of summer with a lot of promise; the plants were lush and thriving. As the summer turned dry and the beans went without rain, however, their promise slowly dimmed. Still, most of the beans hung in pretty well. Soybeans are a resilient plant.

Finally, in early September, about three-quarters of an inch fell on the beans. Ideally, the precipitation would have come much sooner and there would have been more of it. But when I looked over the fields again this past weekend, I saw that the beans had rallied. Though there’s no chance of a bumper crop, yields could be OK.

Many soybeans and other late-planted crops across the Upper Midwest received less-than-ideal moisture this growing season. Everyone involved in production agriculture wonders how crops have responded.

The three soybean fields I’ve been watching are a very small sample size, of course. But based on what I saw over the weekend, I’m a little more optimistic about the region’s harvest than I had been.