fedgazette

Weather woes

South Dakota State Roundup

Published July 1, 2004  |  July 2004 issue

Heavy rain at the end of May proved to be a mixed blessing for the state's farmers.

The rains improved soil conditions in the drought-stricken parts of the state. Prior to the rains, only 35 percent of the state had adequate to surplus subsoil moisture, but now the portion is almost half.

However, with the rains washing out plantings, some farmers lost 10 percent to 20 percent of their crops. For corn, farmers were required to replant by June 10, but some fields were still too wet. Weather up to the rain had been too cold for corn plants to strengthen enough to resist heavy downpours.

Soybeans, sunflowers and sorghum should be harmed less than corn, since they all faced later planting deadlines.

Not all the state got heavy rains. The most rain fell in the east, and some areas benefited from moderate precipitation.

The western part of the state, which faces the worst drought, did not see as much rain, and farmers and ranchers there are still worried about dwindling water supplies. In early June, the federal Farm Service Agency received $1.6 million in emergency funds to assist dry areas.

Joe Mahon

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