A wet season leads into a wet harvest

Published: Nov. 5, 2019 at 11:57 PM CST
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Farmers across our region are still feeling the effects of a difficult growing season. From rain, snow, and flooding, many are either just starting or in the middle of harvest.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, South Dakota farmers have harvested only 27% of corn so far, compare that to the average of 66% complete.

Justin Minnaert farms near Madison and is nearing the finish line of the 2019 growing season. Justin only has 200 acres of corn left to harvest. But, because of the wet year was only able to plant roughly half of it. Now, Justin, like many farmers in the area, faces a damp fall.

"Normally, when we sell corn, it's sold as number two corn is the grade," he said. "Which is 15% moisture, and our corn this year has been anywhere between 20% to 25%. So, we are very far from where we want to be."

Minnaert says when they deliver to the elevator; they dock them money until the moisture gets down to 15%. He says the farm is going to lose 50 cents a bushel for every bushel they deliver.

He has seen years where crops have been wet in the past, but it's different when the rain seems to never end for the entire growing season, which adds extra stress.

"The whole 2019, as a whole, has been very frustrating with the wet spring," he said. "Everything has been very unprecedented. And now the wet corn is just kind of the icing on the cake for the rough year. We had a lot of trade uncertainty, we've had a lot of issues with trying to get the EPA to uphold the RFS for the ethanol use, and then now you throw wet corn on top, and it's just been kind of a disastrous year. And I know many farmers like myself, are looking forward to moving on to a better 2020."

Earlier this year, South Dakota had four million acres of crops unplanted, which was more than any other state. The USDA says South Dakota had fewer than 100 days considered suitable for working in the fields, the fewest number they've seen in decades.