Wet weather forcing South Dakota farmers to delay or cut back on planting of crops – Mitchell Republic

VOLGA, SD – Recent rains and flooding have forced many farmers in the eastern half of South Dakota to delay getting crops into the ground, and some have been left behind. .

The heavy rains during a long-range drought have soaked and inaccessible to farm equipment. Some recent storms have damaged critical planting equipment. The resulting delay in planting has some farmers scrambling to maintain crop production and, consequently, their anticipated income.

As a result, the 2022 planting season will have large numbers of farmers who suffer from severe and widespread losses.

The recent storms in the southeast and the excess moisture in the northeast have supported producers into a corner in regard to deciding when, or even if, to plant a summer 2022 crop. If they wait too long, the growing season will cut back and produce a fall crop may become out of the question.

Farmers suffered a severe setback on May 12 when a high-intensity storm was known to be a good crop.

“That really threw a wrench in a lot of people’s plans because we were already late planting,” said Scott VanderWal, a Volga farmer who is president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “That storm came and destroyed a lot of grain bins, center-pivot irrigators, buildings, livestock facilities, a tremendous amount of damage. We had to spend a few days cleaning up messes instead of planting. ”

Despite the late start and intermittent rains that kept him out of the fields, VanderWal was able to get his soybeans in the ground on time.

Scott VanderWal

Many northeastern South Dakota farmers weren’t so lucky. VanderWal said. Due to the flooding and excess moisture that the region has received, crop farmers will probably rely on their insurance policies known as “prevent-planting” options.

Prevention-planting provisions found in crop insurance policies and allowances for their crops that they were not capable of producing. In South Dakota this year, flooding, excess moisture, drought, and natural disasters are insured causes.

“In 2019, there was a lot of us in eastern South Dakota that used to keep some people in business,” said VanderWal. “It’s not something you want to take because you don’t make any money, but it’ll keep you alive.”

Taylor Dinger, who helps farm a plot near land Hecla, has seen dramatic reductions in the crops they were able to plant due to excess moisture.

Unlike many planters in the region, just before the heavier rains hit, but it was only able to plant about half of normal.

“We lucked out that we planted, everything kind of dried out versus filling up,” Dinger said. “We got that rain after we planted but it didn’t flood anything out. We got out early enough that it wasn’t an issue. ”

Due to delays in accessing fields, he and many others in the region have switched to faster-maturing seed for their crops, allowing them to stay on schedule.

Dinger is working on planting soybeans, and is expected around 60 percent of the normal yield. Fortunately, there are ways for him and other planters to put the land to profitable use.
Cover crops are another option available to planters. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented changes to the crop planting after the final planting date. Cover crops can be hayed, grazed, or chopped at any point and still receive the full prevented-planting payment. This allows farmers to keep the land in good condition by boosting overall revenue and maintaining a revenue stream, according to USDA.

“The [excess] land that we can get … it’ll be prevent-plant, but they have it set up where you can plant it. I hope if you get it into a cover crop system of some type. ”

Wet farm near Aberdeen.jpeg

Water from recent storms encroaches on cropland just east of Aberdeen on June 9.

Stu Whitney / South Dakota News Watch

After watching farmers suffer losses due to natural disasters in 2020 and 2021, Congress put in place emergency relief funding that is available through the application process. The Emergency Livestock Relief Program is designed to help farmers regain financial stability even if they have lost the ability to produce livestock or crops in the previous two years.

Those impacted by the events of 2020 and 2021 are still able to apply for assistance with these programs. According to the Farm Service Agency, pre-filled applications were scheduled in late May 2022 to those who received pre-planted payments during this time period. Local FSA agents for details.

In contrast to these wetter-than-normal conditions in the northeast, most of the state is experiencing a lingering drought. The western side of the state has been hit hardest, looking at conditions ranging from “abnormally dry” to “extreme drought.”

National Weather Service Hydrologist Melissa Smith said the conditions have been dramatic compared to past years.

“La Niña”, a weather event at the Equator where ocean temperatures are colder than average, pushing cooler air throughout the northwest. This pattern typically lasts 9 to 12 months but can sometimes last years.

“Typically, when [La Niña] happens, we tend to see drier, cooler conditions over western South Dakota during springtime. “Said Smith.” A lot of the locations in western South Dakota have just missed out side of the state has seen. “

According to Smith, South Dakota is predicted to see above average temperatures with below average precipitation through June, July, and August. These warmer conditions should help with crop growth, but the lack of precipitation will make irrigation or changing up farming practices more important this season.

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