Freeland grazing

Crop watcher Shawn Freeland’s cattle move to a fresh grazing paddock on his Caputa, S.D., ranch.

Western South Dakota crop watcher Shawn Freeland has been on the road for a cattle class, farm tours and some meetings.

In his travels between Rapid City and Kearney, Nebraska, then up to Mitchell, South Dakota, he noted that he didn’t see a single irrigation pivot running.

“Other than same green snap due to high winds in a few spots,the corn and beans looked excellent,” he said.

Freeland attended a cattle class in Nebraska, where a big topic was mineral programs. He said he learned about different things to look for when finishing cattle on grass. He also took in information about determining cattle fertility by the hair in their coat and how to tell if a cow is pregnant just by looking at her.

It was dry during his week away, and producers in the area put up a lot of hay, he said. He planned to take his second cutting this week.

Freeland recorded about 1.9 inches of rain since the last report with 0.93 coming Aug. 14, about a half inch the night of Aug. 25, and a couple tenths falling in between.

Cover crops were in full bloom, but the mosquitoes were having a heyday, Freeland said, so it wasn’t pleasant to linger and look at the blossoms.

Freeland’s cattle grazed one field of cover crops, which will be planted to winter triticale and brassica for a little fall grazing. Next year, it will be a grass mix.

Soon, the cattle will move from smaller rotational grazing areas to big pastures, and the bulls will be pulled in a week.

Freeland was busy adding to the water system for his pastures and adding on to his shop. The area was still dealing with effects of flooding. Freeland is on the committee for the community center in Caputa, and was working up a plan to deal with water in the building’s basement.

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Janelle is editor of the Tri-State Neighbor, covering South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska. Reach her at or follow on Twitter @JLNeighbor