GRAND FORKS — Freezing temperatures overnight Tuesday and Wednesday ended the growing season in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota a few weeks earlier than most years.
Thanks to a warm summer, however, it appears most crops were mature and not damaged by the cold.
Temperatures early the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 8, and Wednesday, Sept. 9, dropped into the lower 30s across the region, and some reporting stations recorded readings as low as 28 degrees, according to the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.
On Sept. 8, Devils Lake, N.D., had a record low temperature of 31 degrees, 2 degrees lower than the previous record for that date, set in 1956, according to the National Weather Service-Grand Forks.
The first frost of the fall typically occurs in mid-September, and the first freezing temperatures are in early October in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, said Bill Barrett, weather service hydrometeorological technician.
“We went right to the freeze,” said Barrett, noting the weather service recorded a low of 32 degrees in Grand Forks on Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning, 33 degrees.
Most soybeans, edible beans and corn fields in Grand Forks County likely were not damaged by the freezing temperatures, said Katelyn Hain, NDSU Extension agricultural agent for Grand Forks County.
“I think, for the most part, a lot of the crops have matured — even the corn,” she said.
Though the planting of corn and other row crops was delayed by cold, wet weather in the spring, warm temperatures during the growing season pushed crops to maturity, Hain said.
“It’s a good thing we had as much heat as we did this summer, or we wouldn’t be in this good of a situation," Hain said.
Low temperatures north and west of Grand Forks were even colder than in Grand Forks on Tuesday morning, when lows dipped into the upper 20s in several cities in Ramsey, Walsh and Cavalier counties.
“I heard reports of 26 degrees in western Walsh County," said Brad Brummond, NDSU Extension agricultural agent for Walsh County.
The freezing temperatures likely damaged late-planted soybeans and pinto beans in the eastern part of the county, Brummond said. However, most of the unharvested crops in the county had matured and won’t be affected by the cold temperatures.
Farther north, the growing season in Cavalier County ended Tuesday morning, when the temperature dropped to 28 degrees, said Randy Mehlhoff, Langdon (N.D.) Research and Extension director.
“It stayed at that temperature for four to six hours. Our growing season is over," said Mehlhoff, noting that the county’s soybeans appear to have been mature enough so the cold didn’t damage them.
Most row crops in Ramsey County, where temperatures fell into the upper 20s on Tuesday morning, also were mature, said Bill Hodous, NDSU Extension agricultural agent-Ramsey County.
“There was an odd field that was planted late, but most fields were reaching that maturity stage, so, for the most part, we'll be OK,” Hodous said.