Lance and Jaylea Hourigan

Lance and Jaylea Hourigan of Lemmon, S.D.

LEMMON, S.D. – Near the border of northwestern South Dakota and southwestern North Dakota, Lance Hourigan and his dad, Bob, have been spending long days in the field.

With all their wheat in the ground, the Hourigans were finishing up corn during the second and third full weeks of May.

They were planting their corn on fields of either soybean or wheat stubble.

Lance and Bob are now beginning to seed their soybeans and sunflowers, the last of the crops they plan to plant this season.

“We are starting on soybeans and sunflowers, and planting is going well,” Lance said.

Lance is seeding all high-oleic hybrids of flowers, either ExpressSun or Clearfield varieties. Both cultivars help control weeds in the field and are tolerant to certain herbicides.

Rain fell throughout the region to end the third weekend in May, and many farms received moisture.

At the Hourigan farm, some 0.30 inches of rain fell Sunday, May 23, helping the topsoil.

“We could use more rain and pretty soon. So far, our subsoil moisture is sufficient,” Lance said.

Temperatures have been variable with the thermometer one weekend in May dipping down into the 20s. That could have caused problems with the young seedlings, but if so, most plants can grow out of it.

There were also several days with temperatures reaching up to the mid-80s, and seeding sped along in the fields.

Strong winds swept through several warm days.

“We had nearly four days of constant wind this last week, which interrupted our spraying at times,” Lance said.

Meanwhile, the spring wheat has emerged and some corn is peeking out of the soil.

“Our wheat is out of the ground, but we could use rain. The first corn I put in is starting to emerge,” he said.

They aren’t finding any insects in the crops as of yet.

“We did have some alfalfa damaged by the freezing temperatures, so we’ll have to see how it looks come hay season,” he said.

Haying usually starts in June, and they hope to be nearing the end of seeding by then.

However, the Hourigans need to take some time to vaccinate and brand their calves.

“Calving went well this year with very few issues, and we plan to brand and move the pairs out to pasture soon,” he added.

Hopefully, there will be some time to relax a bit and spend time with some friends this summer after seeding and branding.

“We like to golf, camp, go to the lake, and spend time with our close friends,” Lance said.

Lance, who is vice president of the National Sunflower Association, said the summer seminar was cancelled this year. The board members will have a meeting via conference call in late-June.