The corn was so tall that Curt Foster had to clear a path in this field southeast of Britton on Sunday so that he was visible in the Journal’s annual Fourth of July photo. Corn growth has far surpassed the old standard of “knee high by the Fourth of July” this year.
So Far, So Good For Crops
So far, so good.
That’s the way most area producers and agronomists are describing the current crop season in northeast South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota, but as usual bushels in the bin this fall will depend upon continued rains.
“For the moisture we’ve had the crop looks really good,” said Full Circle Ag Agronomist Joe Gustafson in Britton. “We had some timely rains in the last week to 10 days that really helped, and hopefully we can keep them coming.”
However, rains continue to be very spotty around the area.
“We’ve had spotty rainfall for two full years now, and this year is similar in that aspect,” said Chad Voss of Agtegra in Langford. “The Newport Colony slough west of Langford has been dry for a while, and that tells a little bit of the story of the water table being down.
“The rain we have received has been timely, and last week’s weather was a nice relief from the heat,” added Voss. “Some of the corn looks fantastic, but it’s spotty from field to field. It’s hard to even draw it on a map.”
Gustafson said there have been some emergence issues, particularly with corn because of the early dry conditions.
“The poor emergence issues early-on where soil conditions were not the best is going to be one negative to this year’s corn crop, but in some areas it was great. That’s where the spottiness comes in. Beans had some issues, too, but they can overcome a little more than corn can and are filling in nicely. But again, we have to keep the rains coming.”
The early dry conditions have also contributed to some weed problems.
“Our biggest challenge this year is again trying to control South Dakota’s state weed – kocia,” said Gustafson. “It’s worse this year because weeds got a good foothold when it was dry.”
Curt Foster said the corn crop on his farm southeast of Britton is perhaps the best ever at this stage of the season. Corn plants were over his head as he posed in a field planted on May 3 for the Journal’s July 4 picture.
“I’m not sure it’s ever been this high by the Fourth, and we’re not far away from tasseling,” said Foster.
Moisture isn’t a problem right now in the Veblen area.
“We had three inches of rain last week and about an inch and a half the week before,” said David Vig of Veblen. “The corn has really taken off and is probably as good as I’ve ever seen it at this time of the year. It really grew fast and is about as nice as it’s going to get. The dairy also just got done with its second cutting of alfalfa and has a good start on a third one. Usually alfalfa is really hurting for moisture this time of year because it takes so much.”
The Eden area has missed some of the rains this year, and Curtis Samson of Muskrat Farm Supply said Eden received only .35 of an inch a week ago.
“If you go two miles south it didn’t rain at all, and five miles north got an inch,” Samson noted. “But we’re hanging in there and it looks pretty decent around here. When you go south it gets drier. I don’t think we’ve had a rain over six or seven tenths, and a two-inch right now would be great.”
Neil Elsen of Dakota Plains Feed & Grain in Hecla said the Hecla area received some timely rain last week.
“We had three inches and that really helped. The corn is six feet tall in places and about ready to tassel, and the beans were stunted for a while but finally starting to come around. We’re sitting pretty good, but if you go 30 miles west of us they hardly had anything.”
Southeastern North Dakota was also the beneficiary of some recent moisture but again, rains have been spotty.
“The Forman area received two inches in the last week, but areas five to 10 miles away received only two to three tenths and southeast down by Rutland it’s been kind of hit-and-miss,” said Full Circle Ag Agronomist Eric Paulson of Forman. “I’ve had some guys say the corn emergence has been some of the best in the last five years, but I also talked to some that said it was the worst emergence that they’ve had.”