Weather hurts Nebraska crops

The cold, wet weather in many parts of Nebraska slowed planting and plant growth last week.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that crops in the Panhandle have been hit the hardest. Sugar beets will have to be replanted in some fields.

Despite the weather obstacles, Nebraska farmers made progress on field work for corn and soybeans.

The USDA says 89 percent of the expected corn acres were planted by May 16, 3 percentage points above the 86 percent average by this date.

And about 44 percent of the soybean crop has been planted, compared with 26 percent by the end of the previous week. The average for this time of year is to have 38 percent of the soybeans planted.

-- Associated Press

North Dakota plows ahead

North Dakota farmers have made significant progress with spring planting over the past week.

The Agriculture Department said in its weekly crop-weather report that the seeding of spring wheat has reached 68 percent and durum wheat 37 percent, though both remain behind the five-year average. Barley and oats also are behind.

Planting of potatoes is ahead of average, as is the emergence of the sugar beet crop.

North Dakota ranchers are moving cattle to pasture and branding calves. Pasture and range conditions are rated mostly fair to good, with only a small percentage in the poor and excellent categories.

-- Associated Press

Wheat disease rate alarms some

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service says farmers are concerned about disease levels in this season's winter wheat crop.

The agency said May 17 in its weekly update the problem is getting worse, with 20 percent of the crop suffering light disease infestation. About 5 percent of the crop shows moderate infestation. Farmers are reporting powdery mildew, stripe and leaf rust.

Still, the wheat condition report remains mostly upbeat, with 11 percent of the crop rated as excellent and 52 percent rated as good. About 28 percent got a fair rating, with 9 percent in poor to very poor condition.

The crop continues to mature, with 64 percent of the wheat now headed.

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