As predicted, late September has been a wet one in central South Dakota.
Crop watchers Tom and Renae Morog recorded 5.2 inches of rain over the last two weeks at their St. Lawrence farm. About 4 inches of it came on the same stormy night that Sioux Falls was hit by the three tornados and Madison received about 11 inches. This past weekend another 1-1.5 inches of rain fell around Miller.
“Fields are so saturated that the excess water all runs off or sits in low spots or dormant creeks,” Tom Morog said. “It turns out the gutters we recently installed on our house were a good investment!”
The corn and soybean crops still look great, he said. The corn was still very green, and the soybeans were in varying stages of maturity from full leaf drop to completely green on the first day of fall.
Several farmers in the area think they will be cutting beans next week, he reported, but most won’t be ready for two to three weeks. The most mature corn was easily a month away from harvest, depending on drying capabilities and frost.
On a “normal year” (if there is such a thing), Morog would have started harvest this week, he said. He’s delayed at least two or three weeks.
He spoke to farmer who was on his fourth cutting of alfalfa and second cutting of grass. He said this has been one of his most difficult years due to all of the rain, Morog reported.
He recently purchased a pair of Goodyear LSWs (low sidewall tires). A single tire is as wide as the duals on the combine. Morog is hoping it gets him through some of the mud this fall.
A farmer he spoke to in Milbank was not sure wide tires would be enough. He invested almost $80,000 for a set of tracks.
As the rain continues, Morog was looking ahead to next year and seeing some potential problems with planting and fertilizing crops in the spring due to saturated fields.
“We’ll have to solve those problems when we get to them. Right now, all eyes are on the up-coming harvest and the challenges placed before us,” he said. “Its important to stay focused on what’s at hand.”
He closed his report with a message about safety:
“Harvest is both a stressful and a joyous time with the year’s work ready to be gathered and the challenges of doing just that. This year promises to be extra challenging because harvest will be late and the crops and the soil will still be wet. Be extra careful.
“Even when you think you can’t, take some extra time to figure things out. Be prepared as best you can. Anticipate the conditions and the bumps in the road. Do things now so you won’t have to do them later when you are in the thick of it. Be safe.
“There are not enough corn or soybeans on your farm or any farm to make up for the loss of life or limb caused by a serious accident. Try to take a deep breath and take your time. Good luck to everyone!”