Pierpont, S.D.

The rolling hills around the Jerry Mork farm in Day County, S.D., had some snow cover in mid-April. Many fields in the area are too wet to plant.

Field work and planting has been off to another slow start. Fortunately we have not had the excess moisture of a year ago but nonetheless, 2019’s long shadow is still impacting the fieldwork and planting progress.

Small grains are still being planted and progress is moving forward on corn and soybean planting with some producers making good progress, primarily on tiled ground. But with more rain again this past weekend, things will slow down until sunshine returns which is forecast for this coming week and will be quite welcome for planting progress.

Regardless, it is looking like a large increase in prevent plant acres compared to 2019 for a large part of the area. In the far eastern part of area along the Minnesota border, planting is nearing completion.

Many cattle producers have been busy with calving season and have had generally favorable weather for calving and moving cattle to pastures. With the excess moisture, pastures are off to a good start in grass production.

There are some spots where bodies of water have been claiming pasture ground as well as cropland. Some producers in the lake region have been losing hundreds of acres due to rising water levels, in some cases forcing them to liquidate parts of their herds.

The summer of 2020 looks to be a year where planting cover crops and weed control are going to be a high priority, with expectations for drier conditions to accomplish these tasks.

On a personal note, we will add a considerable number of acres to our 2019 prevent plant total. Those will have to be managed for weeds, and we will hopefully be able to plant cover crops.

We have a high school senior graduating this year, which has been very interesting. Graduation has now been scheduled for June 21. We are hoping this will stand, as we have relatives coming from three states.

Activity is beginning to increase around the area. Our church resumed Mass this weekend, and restaurants are beginning to open following the challenges with COVID-19. We have not been impacted by the virus on the farm nearly as much as our counterparts in town due to the rush to get equipment ready to plant.

The Memorial Day holiday is typically a non-holiday for our family due to spring planting. We typically are rushing to get soybeans planted, especially with the wet springs of the past years.

Jerry Mork farms in Day County, S.D. His report was submitted May 16.