With every day that passes, the need for rain increases. Just 4% of our state’s corn crop is rated as “excellent” in the crop report issued July 16 by U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dry conditions have greatly impacted the hay crop. Even the fields that had been looking good are starting to show the effects of high heat and low moisture. Now some fields are also facing pressure from corn rootworm beetles and soybean aphids. Walk your fields and see if the current conditions warrant any applications.
Only spotty showers fell last week, so drought is now impacting more of the state. Nearly the whole state has some level of dryness listed on the U.S. Drought Monitor. Most of the south, the far west and Aberdeen areas are at D1 (Moderate Drought), according to the July 8th crop and weather report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Small areas of D2 (Severe Drought) were around the Black Hills. Corn is an average height of 55 inches, ahead of the five year average of 37 inches. Twenty-four percent of corn is in the silk stage, with 87 percent having been cultivated or sprayed twice. Soybeans were at 45 percent blooming.
Crop conditions are quite uneven across South Dakota with the Highmore area is doing well but the Gettysburg and Onida areas struggling. From Watertown and north, moisture levels are just fine. Crops even 70 miles west of there are doing well. It’s a different story, however, from Highway 281 at Mellette, SD, north to Aberdeen. That area is so dry that the corn is curling up in most fields by 3:30 p.m. The amount of rain in this area has been next to nothing since late May. Many farmers in this area are baling their wheat crop because it’s not harvestable.