EMERY, S.D. (KELO)– Dry. That’s how conditions are looking on many farms near Emery.
While Sioux Falls experienced record breaking rainfall this past weekend, other areas weren’t so lucky.
Dried up corn fields are not an uncommon sight as you drive west of Sioux Falls. For the corn crop, it’s too late for the rain to save it. Justin Zeeb hasn’t seen conditions like these in a decade.
“Once we got closer to July, things really started drying up for us here and about the middle of July we could really tell that things weren’t looking good,” said Zeeb.
July is a crucial month for corn production, without adequate moisture the ears of corn will not fill. Many stalks have little to no ears of corn on them.
“The tassels probably came out about maybe 40 percent in places,” said Zeeb. “I’m hoping maybe 10, 20 bushels on some spots with the corn.”
“We’re going to have anywhere from 0 to maybe over 100 bushels in some spots, but it’s going to be throughout the field and soil type variability,” said Arthur Mueller, Golden Harvest Seed Advisor.
Feeding cattle is also a challenge with the current conditions. Cattle were let out to pasture later than normal so there would be more time for the grass to grow.
“So, we didn’t really get them out until about the middle of June towards the end of June. We were just dry lotting them, giving them hay and silage, just to let that grass fully reach its potential before we turned them out,” said Zeeb.
This year, the alfalfa took a beating from the limited moisture. On his second cutting, Zeeb said he was able to get 4 bales off of 35 acres. In past years, he has gotten more than 100 bales.
“It was a little heartbreaking to see that, but that’s where you’ve just got to plan and hopefully prepare to have enough food for the cattle,” said Zeeb.
And there is still hope for the soybean crop.
“The soybeans I would say in the next two weeks if we could get some soaking rains, we could get some average soybean yields out of this, but that’s pretty time sensitive,” said Mueller.
Zeeb says as a producer, he does his best to prepare for conditions like these.
“You plan for this, on the good years you always try to save up, have a little money in the bank and don’t overspend, so when you have years like this you can weather through them and we are always looking to next year,” said Zeeb.
Since April, Zeeb says he has gotten around 10 and a half inches of rain. On an average year, that number would have been doubled. He plans to cut most of his corn crop for silage and harvest the rest for crop insurance.