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Challenging Dry Weather Poses Concerns for Crop Growth in South Dakota
South Dakota Ag Connection - 06/07/2023

In recent weeks, South Dakota has experienced an unusually dry period, with limited rainfall in various farming regions. While some southern farms received a small amount of rain, those located to the north and west have had no relief from the dry spell.

This prolonged dry weather has significantly impacted crop growth, particularly affecting corn and wheat crops. The situation, reminiscent of a similarly dry spring in 1966, raises concerns about potential drought conditions if rainfall does not occur soon.

Dry weather causes stunted corn growth and premature wheat maturation. Corn plants struggle to adapt to fluctuating temperature patterns, transitioning from seedling sustenance to root development, and require significant rainfall for persistence.

The adverse weather conditions have prompted farmers to anticipate a decrease in wheat yields for this season, estimated to be around 10 to 15% below normal levels.The overall quality of the wheat straw is anticipated to be diminished. As a result, farmers are making adjustments to their schedules and planning to harvest the wheat seven days earlier than usual to mitigate the effects of the ongoing drought.

The season concluded slightly ahead of schedule, with soybean planting completed before the Memorial Day weekend and corn planting finished a few days earlier. However, the farming community acknowledges the need for substantial rain to alleviate the ongoing dry spell and its impact on crop growth.

Farmers planted 7,300 acres in seven days, completing the planting season after a significant rainfall. They managed pre-emergence and post-spraying tasks for the corn crop, grateful for the collective efforts.

With the completion of corn contracts, farmers are currently regrouping and preparing for the next steps. This includes transitioning sprayers from float tires to skinny tires for row crop work and thoroughly cleaning and storing planters and seeders for the next season. Despite ongoing tasks, farmers eagerly await additional rainfall to alleviate the dry conditions and support future crop growth.

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