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Prevented-planting acres in ND fewer than thought, agency says

The latest Farm Service Agency statistics reinforce earlier reports that prevented-planting acres aren’t as common in North Dakota as once feared.

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As of Aug. 9, 1.736 million acres of prevented-planting had been reported in the state, according to the FSA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The number might rise, but only slightly, Bryan Olschlager, farm program director of the compliance division of the North Dakota FSA, tells Forum News Service.

FSA hasn’t completed loading all the data into the database, but “I don’t think it will go too much higher” than 1.736 million, he says.

The most recent number compares with the 1.663 million acres reported as of July 26. The wet spring and difficult planting conditions, particularly in southwest North Dakota, led to concern the number would rise to more than 2 million, and possibly much higher.

But farmers across the state continued to plant as long as they could, reducing the amount of prevented-planting, Olschlager says, basing that conclusion on conversations with other FSA officials and his own observations.

A final estimate on prevented-planting acres in North Dakota could be available by September.

Though 1.736 million acres is high by historical standards, the number would be less than half the 3.6 million prevented-planting acres in North Dakota in 2013. The northern part of the state was hit particularly hard by wet weather and prevented-planting last year.

Because of late planting this year, FSA extended the prevented-planting reporting deadline to July 15, which delayed FSA’s effort to process the reports.

USDA requires farmers who request prevented-planting credit to report the applicable acreage within 15 calendar days after the final planting date for the year. Final planting dates vary by crop, but typically they’re all well before July 15.

FSA officials in Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana, where prevented-planting was less common than it was in North Dakota, have said they’re still compiling their estimates.

They don’t expect final numbers to be available until this fall or early next year.