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Published May 27, 2008, 12:00 AM

Farmers gaining ground on planting schedule

Warmer weather that has finally graced South Dakota is being called a shot in the arm for farmers who were worried about getting their crops into the fields this spring. Spring planting was behind schedule due to inclement weather — including a snowstorm in late April.

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Warmer weather that has finally graced South Dakota is being called a shot in the arm for farmers who were worried about getting their crops into the fields this spring.

Spring planting was behind schedule due to inclement weather — including a snowstorm in late April.

As of two weeks ago, the National Agricultural Statistics Service said only 27 percent of the state’s corn crop had been planted. The weather improved, and a week later, it shot up to 55 percent planted.

And area Extension officials expect a big improvement when the new figures come out this week.

In northeastern South Dakota, officials say farmers have mostly caught up, thanks to a good dose of sunshine.

“We’ve made up quite a bit of ground in the last few weeks,” said Mark Rosenberg, Spink County Extension agent.

“That’s kind of the story right now. We’re finally getting caught up. It’s been a frustrating planting season for some. It’s kind of felt like we’re in slow motion.”

Progress on corn planting has been steady in Spink County, and Rosenberg said some farmers have started on soybeans.

In Campbell County, “Guys are rolling right along, getting the beans in,” said David Vander Vliet, Campbell County Extension agent.

Farmers usually like to plant soybeans the first few weeks of May, Rosenberg said. Still, they should be all right if they get the soybeans in the ground in the next few weeks, he said.

“It’s a matter of (the crop) not having enough length of time to develop and grow,” Rosenberg said.

Vander Vliet said he’d like to see warmer days.

“What we really need right now is the warmer temperatures to get the soils warmed up,” he said. “Right now, we’re still facing cold soils. That could make a difference in growth.”

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