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SD Agriculture Secretary: 'Not Time To Panic'

July 20, 2012, 10:00 PM by Brady Mallory

SD Agriculture Secretary: 'Not Time To Panic'

With the drought monitor expected to get worse, intense and dry heat is not just stressing out farmers. 

According to South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Walt Bones, in past years, a good crop has brought about $750 an acre, but with each day that total gets smaller.

As the drought creeps through South Dakota, healthy green crops are peppered through vast fields of yellows and browns.  

"Some of the corn is already done.  It's shot," Bones said.

Doug Ode of Royalwood Farms said the crop stress is apparent in his 750 acres.

"At this stage they've gone down as far as they can to get that moisture," Ode said.

We have had whispers of rain, but the drops are not enough.  Bones said total yields could be quite a bit less than a good year even if a good four inches of rain falls.  At this point, however, it would help.

"The quantity of the crop is set.  The pollination is pretty well done.  The corn that got pollinated got pollinated.  Right now the rain would impact the quality of corn.  The test weight, the nutrient value of what's left," Bones said.

And they do not look like much, but even the bad crops can be used for something.

"We can still cut that and make silage out of it and feed it to beef cattle, the dairy cattle," Bones said.

But that also cuts down options, meaning this year's stressed crop could have a bigger impact in the next few years.

"When a majority of the corn you plant is used for silage, it's just scary, you know.  Where are we going to get all of our feed?" Ode said.

This is about the time when a few of us wonder if it is time to panic.

"No, no.  We've been through this before.  Our farmers and ranchers are very resilient.  Very creative.  A lot of times adversity brings opportunity," Bones said.

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