Week of rainfall means big delay for harvest

Sioux Falls, SD (KSFY) October usually means a busy harvest season for farmers in our area, but after a week full of rain harvest is getting quite the set back this year.

“Normally this time of year we'd hope to have a really good start on soybean harvest and that we'd probably be almost half way done with soybean harvest, but we haven't started with any harvesting of either corn or soybeans,” Lennox area farmer Dave Poppens said.

Farmers all over the eastern part of the region are seeing the same big delay.

“Generally the geography west of 281 looked ok, good enough to go out and harvest,” SDSU Extension Agronomy field specialist David Karki said.

While fields in central or western South Dakota may be dry enough for harvest, there's still a long wait ahead for the other half of the state.

“Even if the rain quits coming, you need some good warm days to dry out so you can drive your combine in the fields without getting stuck,” Karki said.

“I'm thinking it’s going to be at least a whole week, if not 10 days before we can get out into the field again,” Poppens said.

The continued rainfall is frustrating for farmers this time of year.

“It’s hard to be optimistic when you're sitting here looking at the rain and everything has water sitting around it,” Poppens said.

But the added moisture during harvest can also mean more expense.

“The additional cost of drying takes away some of the cash flow you have,” Poppens said. “It’s a cost you hope you don't have to spend but it looks like we're going to have to purchase a lot of propane this year.”

And with the big delay, that propane bill will likely come much later in the year.

“So instead of being done by Halloween weekend with corn and beans…it’s looking like more of a Thanksgiving or later harvest this year,” Poppens said.

On the bright side, Poppens says soybean yields in the southeastern part of the state are actually looking above average this year. So once farmers are able to get in the field, they should have a pretty decent harvest.