Dry conditions affecting South Dakota hay crop - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Dry conditions affecting South Dakota hay crop

Posted: Updated:

Dry weather isn't just a west river problem, its causing headaches across South Dakota.

Some fireworks dealers are worried that continued dry weather could slow down business as the Fourth of July approaches. Fire officials are already warning people to water the immediate area when lighting off fireworks.

The dry conditions are beginning to worry people in the state's agriculture industry. They say crops will start to suffer if there isn't substantial rainfall soon. In Southeast South Dakota, drought has become a four letter word.

For farmers across the state the heat is on.

"This week their talking about temps in the upper 90's and possibly in the triple digits and that's not good for anybody." Said Gary Freeburg.

But it's not just the forecast that's making farmers sweat it's also the real possibility of the d-word.

"Right now this part of the state we're not on the drought map as far as the nation, however we're very close and if it continues to stay this way we will be on the drought map." Said Larry Wagner, an agronomy field specialist with the South Dakota State Extension office.

Western South Dakota is on that drought map, crops there are already suffering.

"I've got friends out there that haven't even got the first cut of the harvest and are forced to let it go to seed so they can get something out of their land, there's very little hay and it's very serious." Said Freeburg.

Freeburg is the owner of the Freeburg Hay Company. His hay crop luckily hasn't been impacted by the dry conditions thanks to the nearby Missouri River. However that wasn't the case a year ago.

Last year Freeburg couldn't plant on 2600 acres because it was too wet, but on Monday they baled 380 acres. Making it the third hay cutting of the season.

"On the hay side for us, the first two cuttings have been the easiest I've ever had in my lifetime in the business because of the quality. The quantity is not there but I'll take quality any day over quantity." Said Freeburg

With hay numbers low across the state and nation, the value of hay is bound to go up and could cause feed shortages for animals. Rainfall totals are below average but agronomists say farmers shouldn't give up hope.

"We've seen dry years at this time and bumper crops so things can turn around rapidly." Said Wagner.

As long as there's a crop to harvest, Freeburg will go to work.

"You can't make hay when it rains everyday, you make hay when the sun shines." Said Freeburg.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KSFY. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service or our EEO Report.