A few days ago, I made an eyeball, passing-on-the-road inspection of roughly two dozen fields in a small area of central North Dakota. Wheat and soybeans grew on most fields, corn and dry edible beans on the rest.
I’m a journalist, not an agronomist, so my observations were hardly those of an expert. But I didn’t need to be an expert to see partial drown-out in some of the fields and hail damage in parts of others. Nor did I need to be an expert see that, overall, the wheat looked really good and that corn, soybeans and dry beans looked promising, albeit late.
That small group of fields reflects the region’s overall crop. Farmers in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota generally are optimistic about their crops, despite late planting and subsequent weather problems.
A lot of things can still go wrong, and nobody is taking a good harvest for granted. And of course there are pockets where crops have been been ravaged by bad weather already. But we’re going into August in good shape overall; that can’t be said every year.