SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Drought and hot temperatures tempered corn harvest expectations in much of KELOLAND earlier this summer. However, the weekend rain dropped from 3 to 7 inches in parts of the region.

Bruce Burkhardt farms near Dell Rapids. He raises hogs and grows corn and soybeans on his multi-generation farm. When it comes to this year’s corn crop, Burkhardt expects most farmers will come in under average yields because of a lack of rain.

“So when we see these brown stalks, that means that they are moisture stressed, and so right here, I would say that this would be a 40 percent impacted to 60 percent impacted. In other words, 40 to 60 percent less yield than right over there,” said Burkhardt.

Most of his corn is looking good. Burkhardt says the weekend rain bought farmers more time, but more will be needed after a week to ten days.

“This soil here is heavy, so we can hang on a little longer than where it isn’t quite as good a soil. They’ve just had too big of an impact to say it is not going to be less than average, is what I’m saying.”

Tom Hanson: So their yields may be a little lighter?

“That’s correct, and it is very uneven. It’s not like it’s everything north of 34 is too dry, and everything south is OK. It’s not like that. It’s just hit and miss,” said Burkhardt.

Thirty-five miles away near Lennox, it’s very similar on the Hoogestraat farm. There is not much consistency even in a single field when it comes to the amount of rain they got and the size of the ears of corn.

Tom Hanson: So this ear was a mile and a half away from this ear, and it’s all due to rain?

“Correct,” said Hoogenstraat, “Same hybrid, same plant date, same everything, same fertilizer, same everything.”

Hoogstraat believes the rain came too late to improve his corn yields, but he’s still hoping for an average year.

“Corn was near death a few different times,” he said. “We just caught enough rain to keep it going pretty excited now just to see what we have had compared to what we were dealing with early in the season.”

The good news is both farmers say the rain came at a good time for soybeans, which got off to a rough start.

“There is potential; beans are going to be really good with this last rain. Seems like beans are always made in July and August, so pretty excited about the beans, said Hoogestraat.

So the rain was welcome, and farmers are hoping mother nature provides even more in the coming weeks. Hoogastraat, who also sells seed, says corn prices have fluctuated all year.
In fact, he’s never seen a year like this before.