“We’ve never planted this late”—snow, cold delay planting season - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

“We’ve never planted this late”—snow, cold delay planting season in the Corn Belt

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It was another wintry day in May across much of South Dakota Saturday. The low temperatures, rain and snowfall this first week of May means ground temperatures are still too low for farmers to start planting. 

Farmers near Rushmore or Worthington, MN are dealing with even lower ground temperatures after the eight inches of snowfall this week. 

"I've been with this company for 16 years and we've never planted this late...I'd say out of every year I've been here, 95 percent of the corn has been planted by now," said Mike Miller with the United Farmers Co-Op in Rushmore. 

This year, virtually none of the area framers have planted as ground temperatures are still about 10 degrees too cold for germination. 

"We've been able to dig a little bit, but no plating yet," said Rushmore family farmer Mark Schutte. 

"So it's kind of hard to convince a farmer to not put the seed in the ground when the calendar says it should be in the ground," said Miller. 

"It's time to get going, the later it gets, the less yields you're going to have," said Rushmore farmer Jim Schutte. 

After planting this late in the year, area farmers could see some very wet corn come harvest. 

"Ya, we might be drying corn this year, we've been lucky enough not to have to the last two years, but I think this year we'll be drying corn," said Jim Schutte. 

"If the corn isn't mature enough, then you're going to have light corn, light test weight," said Miller. 

It's why some farmers are starting to think about switching from their usual 102 day corn seed to a 94 or 96 day seed variety. 

"Right now, I don't think they need to worry about it, but if we get past the 15th, I'd worry about it then," said Miller. 

While the delay is starting to make some farmer nervous, the SDSU Extension office says all of the extra moisture may actually improve corn yields this season. 

"I don't think it will ruin the year, it should be find...it will just depend on the summer I would say on how warm it is and how much rain we get," said Mark Schutte. 

"We need the moisture too because we have no subsoil left so it's a blessing and who knows," said Jim Schutte. 

An SDSU Agronomist says farmers planting later in the year may have to deal with weeds earlier than usual.  Also, if it does get late enough for farmers to change their seed, the issue may be trying to find enough 94 or 96 day seed to plant.

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