Editor’s Note: This is a preview of one of the seven states the 2013 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour will visit on Aug. 19-22. See the complete State-by-State Preview of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour
2012 was a nightmare year for farmers in South Dakota. Extreme heat and non-existent rainfall ruined all hopes for corn and soybean yields.
The good news is yields could more than double from last year’s devastating levels.
Nathan Mueller, South Dakota State University Extension agronomist, says overall the corn and soybean crops in his state are in very good condition for high yield potential. And, he should know, he’s visited the majority of the state in the last month.
Farmers in the state had a nice window for corn planting in Mid-May, Mueller says. Close to 70% of the state’s corn crop was planted in two weeks (May 6-May 19). "The planting pace around here in mid-May was impressive," he says. Soybean planting pace also ran close to average, but slightly behind normal.
Fast-forward to today, and he says South Dakota’s crops are around one week behind average in terms of development. "A cooler-than normal weather pattern, since July 23, was ideal for corn pollination. But normal temperatures are expected to return this weekend and next week."
Since the weather has been so cooperative in South Dakota, Mueller believes yields should come in above average on the state’s 5.3 million acres of corn and 4.7 million acres soybeans.
"We will likely be in the top three highest yielding years for corn (2009 and 2011 were high-yield years)," he says. "For soybeans, we should be in the top five highest-yielding years."
Of course, all this great potential could be ruined by continued rain and an early frost. "It would be nice to have an average to later-than average hard-killing frost, along with some normal to above-normal temperatures."
Mueller believes high-moisture corn could be an issue this year, especially if rains continue during grain fill. He says harvest should start at the beginning of October and pick up across the state shortly after.