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Business & Economics

Farmers behind on planting, but likely to catch up

Corn field
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service South Dakota

The attached interview above is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment.

Poor weather has caused setbacks for farmers this planting season, but producers will likely catch up as conditions improve.

The state faced a drought for much of the spring, while thunderstorms in late May flooded northeastern farmers’ fields and more recent rains have spread across the state.

Those conditions, combined with cool temperatures and severe weather, led to delays in planting fields. But with the worst of spring behind them, producers will likely be able to catch up.

“We weren’t that far behind,” said Heather Gessner, a field specialist at South Dakota State University Extension. “There were some pretty good days to get out in the field for most producers, so we should see a higher emerge percentage that maybe catches us up to last year’s numbers.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases weekly numbers about corn, soybean and wheat progress in the state. The June 6 report showed producers largely closing the gap on five-year averages, but far behind last year’s numbers.

Producers are under extra pressure this planting season, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has strained international supplies of fertilizer and wheat.