Agronomist: Small grains suffering the most amid drought conditions

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 8:34 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Drought that has hit a large part of the Northern Plains including South Dakota has impacted small grains worse than the row crops so far.

SDSU Extension Field Agronomist David Karki says corn and soybeans are hanging in there but need more rain soon. These crops have deeper root systems that allow them to extract moisture from deeper within the soil, making them more resilient to dry conditions.

“They’re holding up okay,” Karki told WNAX Radio. “But, like everything else, they may run out of resources if we don’t get rain in the next couple of weeks.”

Small grains like wheat and oats have been hit the hardest.

“A lot of winter wheat fields in the state have been cut for hay,” Karki said, adding this is happening more in the central part of the state where wheat is more prevalent.

Karki says there’s very little producers can do in the short term. He says no-till crop seems to be faring better than tilled crops.

Karki says it’ll be critical to get rain in the next couple of weeks with corn getting into its pollination phase.

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