With warmer, drier weather expected this week, South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers are looking forward to better work conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, the Mobridge area has received 3.22 inches of rain in May, which is just less than an inch above the normal precipitation in May.
Since Jan. 1, 2019, 8.73 inches of precipitation has fallen in the area. That is 3.20 inches above the normal average during this time.
Yet, the northcentral part of the state is not the wettest part of the state. There are counties in southeastern South Dakota in which there has been so much precipitation that not only are producers having difficulty getting into their fields, they are having difficulty getting equipment out of their yards.
“Compared to the eastern part of the state we are in a much better place,” said E.J. Goetz, Walworth and Campbell counties executive director at the Farm Services Agency office in Selby. “There is still concern for area producers.”
Goetz said conditions in the area are pretty difficult. Cold, wet weather has brought field work to nearly a halt. She said there have been some days that have been somewhat favorable to fieldwork in this area, but further wet and cold conditions will put corn crops farther behind.
Because of the length of time it takes corn to mature and dry out, the time to get corn in the field is quickly passing. Goetz said it would take near perfect conditions from this point on for corn producers to have a good crop this year.
She said there are certain cut-off dates for crops to be fully insured by federal crop insurance (see USDA crop planting deadlines). Some of those crop deadlines, for spring wheat and corn, have already past.
Goetz said the crops of choice in Walworth and Campbell counties are corn, soybeans and sunflowers. In Potter and Sully counties, there are more winter wheat fields.
The date to get soybeans in the ground is later than that for corn, according to Goetz, who said producers planning to plant soybeans are not feeling as much of a time constraint as those who planned to plant corn.
The sunflower planting period lasts until mid-June or later so there is less pressure for the sunflower producers.
Goetz said in some cases, there is still a chance for producers to put another crop in planned corn fields, depending on several factors, including what was planted in those fields last year and is compatible with last year’s production practices. Producers may look to plant forage crops to meet the needs for their livestock or as a commodity that can be marketed to livestock producers.
According to the South Dakota State University Extension Agronomy Field Specialist Sara Bauder, producers who may not own livestock may find forage crops have economic potential through harvesting or through leasing grazing acres to neighbors who own livestock. Both are ways to create revenue on fields that may have otherwise been fallow or weedy this year, according to Bauder.
She cautions producers to make certain to consult crop insurance regulations surrounding prevent plant coverage, yield history, and harvest or use of emergency forage crops.
Goetz said if the wet, cold weather conditions continue, there is a chance there will not be a corn crop this season, but with warmer, drier conditions in the 10 day forecast, producers may see more days suitable for field work before June 1.
It is not just the field crops that are being affected by the adverse weather conditions, Goetz said this calving season has been one of worst the area has endured in recent years.
“It was not just the losses that occurred during the late storms, but the wet conditions are still taking a toll on this seasons calves,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if they calved in February, March April or even May, the wet and cold conditions are still causing problems.
Goetz said calves born during the storms were weakened by the adverse conditions and now they are having to endure colder, wetter and windier than normal conditions during the crucial first weeks of life.
“There has been a significant amount of loss during and after the storms,” she said. “It is devastating for producers to work so hard then still have these kinds of losses.”
There are programs that assist producers that suffer large losses due to weather conditions. Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is designed to provide a payment to producers that experience excess livestock deaths due to adverse weather, including winter storms, floods, extreme cold and blizzards, certain diseases or other eligible events. The program compensates producers at a rate of 75 percent of the market value of the applicable livestock on the day before the livestock died, as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Producers must submit a notice of loss to their local Farm Service Agency office within 30 days of the loss and make an application for payment within 60 days after the calendar year in which the loss occurred.
– Katie Zerr –