2021 US Corn Belt Crop Tour


North Dakota

2021 Summary of the State of North Dakota

Day 6 & 7: July 9-10, 2021

10th Annual US Corn Belt Crop Tour Summary of the State of North Dakota

The 2021 10th Annual U.S. Corn Belt Crop tour in the state of North Dakota started on day 6, July 9th, and ended on July 10th, day 7. We travelled north up to Bismarck, southeast to Ashley, north to Carrington, west to Minot, then east through Devils Lake to Grand Forks. Ashley, North Dakota was a “garden spot” and had the best corn in ND, but it was deceiving as recent rains were masking all of the problems during and after planting. The entire state is dry with HRW wheat harvest at 20 bpa! It was a sunny day with a high of 23 Celsius but pineapple corn was still stressing at 74 degrees!

Corn growth has been stunted by too much dry weather & excessive heat! Corn is tasseling short at 4-5 feet tall. Soybeans are short and wilting in the stress and dry conditions, but soybeans could be North Dakota’s best crop with timely August rains. Some disease pressure with lots of grasshoppers in the dry conditions. When comparing to 2020, crops in ND are behind as growth has been stunted by too much dry weather, heat, wind & lack of moisture. It is much drier in 2021 vs. 2020 but the drought started in 2020.

Thank you to Mark Rohrich (@sunflowerfarmer) of Maverick Ag in Ashley, ND for his time & insights. Wheat was planted April 27 but only ankle high, 50% loss in yields. 5 inches of precipitation in 2021 & only 10 inches last year! Crazy heat has taken a toll, frost in the north smoked a lot of no-till soybeans that were replanted. Went from frost to 100 degrees in 1 week that is a lot of bad days!

90-Day Precipitation Departure from Normal

State of North Dakota 90 Day precipitation map

State of North Dakota Drought Classification Maps

2016 was North Dakota’s record corn and soybean yield at 158 and 41.5 bpa respectively vs. 2020 at 139 and 33.5. Farmers planted 84.6% more corn acres and 25.2% more soybeans acres, winter wheat +212% (very small), durum -17.6% and spring wheat +4.4% in 2021. Corn crop conditions in ND are rated 31% good-excellent and 27% very poor to poor. Soybean crop conditions are worse with 22% good-excellent and 37% very poor to poor as of July 12th, 2021. Topsoil moisture is rated 25% adequate and 75% short to very short. Subsoil moisture is no better at 20% adequate to surplus and 80% very short to short.

There is a production hiccup coming in North Dakota as the state represents 4.0% of total corn and 8.2% of total soybean acres in 2021. Production in corn and soybeans could fall by as much as 100-250 million and 48-120 million bushels respectively.

From thin stands to emergence issues, to a lack of moisture with no uniformity, we rank the state a 3 out of 10 below avg with a lower bias as the heat returns for the end of July with below average yields.

Map of State of South Dakota Route

State of South Dakota Image Collage

Thank You to our proud prize sponsors Azotic North America and Empire Weather.

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About North Dakota
Number of farms
1,512 acres
Average size of a North Dakota farm
39,300,000 acres
Land in North Dakota farms
North Dakota’s land area occupied by farms;  the motto, “Strength from the Soil,” appears on the state’s coat of arms and governor’s flag
North Dakota farmers are experts in no-tillage and reduced tillage practices that help save the soil
Every time
Every time we eat spaghetti, chances are there’s North Dakota durum in it
Turkeys produced annually in North Dakota
3,300,000 acres
Corn acres intended in 2021, +69% vs 2020

139 bu/acre
Corn yield in 2020, -2.0 bu/acre vs. 2019
7,000,000 acres
Soybean acres intended in 2021, +22% vs 2020

33.5 bu/acre
Soybean yield in 2020, +1.5 bu/acre vs. 2019
6,435,000 acres
Wheat acres intended in 2021, -3% vs. 2020

47.6 bu/acre 
Wheat yield in 2021, -0.9 bu/acre vs. 2020


2021 US Corn Belt Tour
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