The U.S. Department of Agriculture released their crop report Friday morning. It's a report many have been waiting for as it's showing just how bad the drought is. And those numbers aren't looking good.
As our drought continues in southeast South Dakota, some farmers are cutting down their corn crop almost two months earlier than normal. We take you to a Viborg farm where that's happening.
Farmer Rich Vasgaard runs a custom silage chopping business. He started chopping much too early this year. He has been out in the fields since mid-July.
"Generally we don't start until the first or second week in September. Typically that's when we'll start chopping silage so this is really early," Vasgaard said.
Vasgaard has already cut down corn at six local farms. He has five more to go. Some at 160 acres.
"The corn is starting to dry up and everyone needs to get it done," Vasgaard said.
And you can even hear how dry it is in some fields when you walk through.
The reason workers are cutting down the corn is because there is no corn on the stalk. The machine will chop up the plant but it won't go to waste. It will be used to feed livestock.
"We have a shortage of hay in the area so the farmers need something to get their cattle through the winter and this will provide that food," Vasgaard said.
The USDA crop report released Friday morning shows corn taking a big hit. In August, corn should be standing at eight feet tall but instead your seeing it dry and wilted. The report says production is down 17% from last year. It would be the lowest corn production since 2006.
"This year it takes twice as many acres to get the same amount of feed in the past," Vasgaard said.
That's because the corn barely grew. But like Vasgaard and Ag experts tell us, the crop report is just an estimate. What they're waiting for is harvest season when they'll find out exact numbers.
"I think this is really going to hurt when we get into next year and people don't have the product to sell," Vasgaard said.
But for many farmers, they're taking it one dry step at a time.
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