- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Moisture ranging from half an inch to 4 inches over the past week has helped replenish soil moisture across North Dakota, perking up crop planting and livestock pastures.

Topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies in the state are rated only 19 percent short or very short, compared to 39 percent the previous week for topsoil and 33 percent for subsoil, the Agriculture Department said in its weekly crop progress report released Monday.

Stock water supplies statewide are rated 91 percent adequate to surplus, up slightly over the week.

“I call this a million dollar rain,” Burleigh County Soil Conservation District technician Ken Miller told KXMB-TV. “If we’d have had another 10 days of wind and warm, things would have started looking pretty desperate.”

Last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor map showed about one-fourth of North Dakota being in drought, with much of the rest of the state rated abnormally dry. The map will be updated later this week.

The rain and snow did slow crop planting, however, and the report said there are concerns in some areas that crops might have be replanted due to excess moisture.

Eighty-two percent of North Dakota’s staple spring wheat crop is in the ground. Sugar beet planting has wrapped up, and the seeding of potatoes is nearing the halfway mark. Corn planting is about two-thirds done. The planting of all crops in the state is well ahead of the average pace over the past five years.

Pasture and range conditions in North Dakota are rated only 10 percent poor or very poor, a slight improvement over the week.

“This weekend’s precipitation is certainly welcome,” North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson told The Bismarck Tribune.

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