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Erin Brown/Grand Vale Creative

It's mid-summer, and crops look good overall

Though there are painful exceptions, especially in South Dakota, Upper Midwest farmers generally say their 2018 crops are doing well. A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms that.

Crops in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are in unusually good condition overall, according to the weekly crop progress report released July 9 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS, an arm of the USDA.

The NASS report, which reflects conditions on Sunday, July 8, also confirms anecdotal reports that some fields, despite a late planting start, have caught up or are even more advanced than normal because of warmer-than-normal conditions in recent weeks.

For example, 8 percent of Minnesota corn had reached the silking stage, compared with the 2013-2017 average of 4 percent for July 8. Ten percent of South Dakota had reached silking, up from the five-year average of 5 percent for July 8. Six percent of North Dakota corn had reached silking, the same as the five-year average.

The overall corn crop is in good shape, too, as well as being unusually advanced. Heavy rains have hammered parts of the region, especially eastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota, but the bulk of the region's corn crop continues to thrive, according to the NASS report.

In South Dakota, 74 percent of corn was rated good or excellent, with 20 percent fair, 4 percent poor and 2 percent very poor.

Minnesota's corn crop was rated 79 percent good or excellent, 16 percent, 4 percent poor and 1 percent very poor.

North Dakota's corn crop was doing particularly well. Eighty-six percent was in good or excellent condition, 13 percent fair and 1 percent poor.

Barley and oats also are doing well overall, according to the report.

Here's how USDA assesses the condition of the region's spring wheat and soybean crops:

Spring wheat:

Montana — Eighty-four percent was in good or excellent condition, 14 percent fair and 2 percent poor.

North Dakota — Eighty-two percent was in good or excellent shape, 14 percent fair, 3 percent poor and 1 percent very poor.

Minnesota — Eighty-five percent was rated good or excellent, and 15 percent fair.

South Dakota — Fifty-one percent was in good or excellent shape, 35 percent fair, 11 percent poor and 1 percent very poor.

Soybeans:

North Dakota — Eighty-one percent was rated good or excellent, 16 percent fair and 3 percent poor.

Minnesota — Seventy-five percent was in good or excellent shape, 20 percent fair, 4 percent poor and 1 percent very poor.

South Dakota — Sixty-eight percent was in good or excellent condition, 24 percent fair, 6 percent poor and 2 percent very poor.