Ramsey County started off the 2012 growing season with very good moisture conditions to include a saturated subsoil moisture content.

Ramsey County started off the 2012 growing season with very good moisture conditions to include a saturated subsoil moisture content.  The area did receive some beneficial rains in June but hot dry conditions hit a large part of the region including much of North Dakota.  The dry conditions did not skip the Devils Lake region as July, August and much of September were abnormally dry.  

One might ask, “How did our crops fair so well?”  The growing season could not have been any more perfect for most of our growing commodities.  The spring started off cool and damp and then progressed into the dry part of the summer slowly allowing growing plants the ability to reach further down into the soil profile for more moisture rather being more shallow rooted when rains are plentiful.

Sending roots down into the more moist subsoil moisture did three things; it provided the plant with much needed moisture, the plants also incountered another source for nutrients and it helped deplete a greatly over-saturated subsoil profile.  Residents would have  noticed the lower potholes that once held water dry up into the fall season.

Near the completion of the small grain harvest the county started receiving moisture again.  The amount of rain received did replenish some subsoil moisture and did start sitting water in the low lying areas but this was not common across most of the region leaving some areas in the Devils Lake region still experiencing dry to very dry conditions while others were more fortunate.  Many had waited for the later fall rains to get their fall tillage operations completed as the dry conditions were not allowing good fall tillage.

The winter months progressed with (it is hard to say normal snow as I am not sure what normal is anymore) but I am going to say normal snow amounts or maybe better to say not exceeding amounts of snow until the first part of March.  

This snow pack will leave the region wetter than previously thought and we are now talking of Devils Lake possibly rising two feet higher.  A lot of this prediction will depend on how slow or fast the spring thaw will be and how much water some of these dryer soils can absorb. Many more established farmers would say that one inch of rain is much more beneficial than one foot of snow, so will have to wait and see.

The spring planting season is looking like a later start than 2012 which was much earlier than we had seen for years.  
I will make a bold prediction to say that we will start the first week of May.  The soil moisture looks to be good for spring planting but there could also be a lot of winter left.  I can remember one year where we got 8 inches of snow on May 25.  I have pictures showing our baby calves covered up with snow.

Leon Osborne is suggesting that the summer will again turn much drier and warmer than what we have had in the past.  This prediction will warrant some concerns as presently our subsoil moisture is not at the capacity of last year.  How the crops fair is purely speculation but if the same scenario holds true would tend to tell a story of a smaller fall harvest.