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July 12, 2012 10:00 PM

Spreading Drought Affecting More Farmers

Faulkton, SD

More South Dakota farmers are becoming concerned about their crops as the drought continues to grow.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, all of South Dakota is at least abnormally dry. The amount of places in drought has increased too. That includes all of Faulk County.

Above ground, Faulk County farmer Ryan Melius likes what he’s seeing in his fields. It's what's below that could change conditions quickly.

"Our subsoil moisture to this point is fairly descent. However, it is deleting very quickly," Melius said.

Melius farms north of Faulkton. With moisture in the ground, his area has been getting by so far. It just recently went from dry to drought.

"A lot of other areas are showing, the corn crop especially, a lot of browning, very burnt up at this point. We're sitting pretty good at this point," Melius said.

Rain in the next week or two really could improve conditions in Melius’ part of Faulk County. But if it doesn't come, crops could really take a turn for the worse.

"We are just holding on. We're crossing our fingers for a good rainfall. If we would receive that, we would hold on to some of our yield," Melius said.

Farmers in other parts of the state are sitting at that same critical stage. Drought covered half of South Dakota last week and three-quarters this week.

Harvest time is here for early crops such as wheat and Melius is happy with the way that crop turned out. For later ones including beans and corn he can only rely on amounts of rain he isn't seeing in the forecast to save them.

"It'll only be a matter of time before we see some of the more predominant effects of what a drought can bring to an area," Melius said.

With spotty rain throughout the year conditions vary within the county too. The northeast part of Faulk County has been in a drought for days.

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