Delayed harvest because of flooding

Eye on KELOLAND

This year has been anything but a field of dreams for a lot of farmers.

Spring flooding delayed their planting season, some couldn’t plant at all. But even those who got crops in the ground are now facing another tough situation.

Kayaking in a cornfield, only in South Dakota…at least this year anyway.

Jason Kokes of Tabor shot video of him checking one of his cornfields in a kayak after heavy rain buried it under 10 feet of water last month.

This is Kokes standing in that same field today.

The water has gone down and so are a lot of hopes.

“The field is still very wet, the corn is still standing, believe it or not,” Kokes said.

It was so wet on the day we stopped by, we couldn’t even get down to the field with our vehicle.

So Jason shot drone video of what it still looks like today. There’s still a lot of water, but as far as Jason is concerned this field is done.

“The corn isn’t going to mature, it stopped at that stage, and to get any kind of salvage out of it, we’re probably gonna have to wait til it freezes, to get any kind of equipment down there, but that particular field that was underwater is probably going to be a total loss,” Jason said.

“So this is the corn that was on the flooded field down by the river. If you feel that you can feel how spongy and soft that is that’s that’s similar to what would happen if there’d be frost on corn. And this corn was just from a few miles away, planted a day sooner and that’s what this corn should have looked like nice hard kernels,” Kokes said.

Jason’s dad has been farming for 35 years.

“We’ve had wet years before. It’s just that normally it comes in one year increments and then it, then it disappears for about 10 years then we get another way here but these last three years have been a struggle in our area,” Jim Kokes said.

South Dakota’s Ag Secretary Kim Vanneman says it could take years to recover from this year’s flooding and we’re all going to feel it, not just farmers.

“This year’s growing season is definitely going to have an impact on the South Dakota economy as, as you all know that agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry and when things are good in agriculture things are good on Main Street, when things are not so good in agriculture things on Main Street are not so good, so, clearly, it will have, and have an effect on the Main Street,” Vanneman said.

When the fields do dry, Jim says it’ll be a small window of opportunity for farmers to get the crops out.

“As far as a small window, meaning that instead of having two, three, four weeks in a row, day after day harvesting, you’re probably going to have a day here or day there where you’ll be able to harvest,” Jim

And that could present another problem, safety.

“Safety this fall is going to have to be a must. So, because people are gonna be anxious, they might get in a hurry. Pace makes ways. Yeah, and that’s this call yeah with the window of opportunity there’s going to be just short days to be out there, and everyone’s gonna want to go, go, go and we just need to slow down a little bit, it’s kind of what you need to do, but a lot of times that doesn’t happen,” farmer Steven Vellek said.

Vanneman says farmers who have been drastically impacted by the flooding should contact their Farm Service Agency to see what programs are available to help them in their recovery.

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