South Dakota farmers begin harvesting amid dry season

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 6:26 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Harvest season in South Dakota is now underway, as many farmers are spending a lot more time in the fields.

Agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry, an industry that is persevering during this pandemic.

2020 has brought its fair share of challenges, including a dry harvest season for farmers across South Dakota.

Reid Jensen has been farming for over 40 years and after a wet 2019, 2020 is lining up to be a bounce-back year.

“Down in this area after last year where we had so much water and rain, I only planted about 30% of my crop last year. This year we were able to plant everything on time and the crop shave looked really good,” Jensen said about his land in Elk Point.

However, 2020 seems to be the opposite of a year ago which has been hard on soybeans.

“That’s a pretty critical time for soybeans, they need some rain in August, and we didn’t get much rain.” Jensen added, “We’re expecting that the yields weren’t as good as they could’ve been and we’re seeing that. I think we lost 10-15 bushels an acre on our soybeans.”

A dryer season produces more loose dust, which needs to be carefully monitored to prevent something worse.

“The other issue that we have to watch out for is that when you have this kind of dust there’s a greater chance for fire, and if we would have a spark or a bearing go out on the combine and if we would have a fire get out in these fields it would be a bad deal,” said the Elk Point farmer.

In a time where social distancing is encouraged, Jensen values his time harvesting his nearly 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans.

Jensen said, “It’s been a silver lining; we get to be out here in the fields away from a lot of people so it hasn’t affected us too much.”

Jensen does say that this dry harvest season could bring up some concerns in regards to the soil next Spring if the rain continues to stay away this fall.

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