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Doug Hanson of Elk Point,S.D., plants his last field of soybeans this year. (Michelle Rook/Special to Agweek)

Planting wrapping up in SD, but frustrating in southeast

ELK POINT, S.D. — The planting season is wrapping up in South Dakota in all but a few fields in the southeast, where farmers have struggled again this spring due to excessive moisture. The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture crop progress report shows 98 percent of the corn and 99 percent of the soybeans are planted in the state, which is in line with the 5-year average.

Doug Hanson, who farms near Elk Point, S.D., just finished up planting soybeans on June 6. He says this is the second straight year the planting season has been delayed for him. Several inches of rain fell this spring over much of southeast South Dakota and with the cool temperatures, it slowed fieldwork for many farmers like Hanson.

"I'd say we're two weeks behind normal from what we usually are, but you know, last year we had the same situation," he says.

On his last field of soybeans, Hanson was planting around mud holes. He also had to replant some corn in wet areas where the crop did not emerge, which will lower yields.

"It's a dead spot and not only that, you can figure about 50 percent of the seed that does make will be about a half the yield," he says.

While Hanson stuck with his planned rotation, he did make some other agronomic adjustments with the late seeding dates.

"We didn't switch any corn and bean fields. We pretty much stayed with what we'd designated earlier this spring," he says. "But we did change some maturities of some beans just because we don't like a late bean season."

And he says planting those shorter season soybean varieties will have an impact on yield potential.

"There is some yield loss. You know a lot of it is attributed to the fact that we have to change some maturities on our seed," he says.

Hanson also had a frustrating planting season in 2016 with above normal precipitation. Although he didn't have a bumper crop, he says his yields did turn out better than he expected, especially with the beans. So, that is leaving him hopeful for at least an average crop.

Steve Rommereim farms near Alcester, S.D., and he also struggled this spring.

"Wow! It's been a challenge this year," he says. "We were wet and cold in May and couldn't get the beans in. The folks that did now regret it because they're out replanting."

He says the delays are worse around the Beresford area and some farmers were just getting into the fields the second week of June.

With a late start, Rommereim says the top end yield on his farm may have been trimmed, but he remains positive.

"Even with the challenges that we've had, these genetics and these crops can really pull through, so I'm very optimistic," he says.

Rommereim did have one advantage in that he planted less corn this year, so he was able to wait for the fields to dry out to plant his beans. He says with the corn-soybean ratio strongly favoring soybeans this winter, he decided to switch from a more traditional 50-50 rotation.

"I did plant more beans," he says. "I was able to price early with better profits from beans than corn, so I did. I'm at about 30 percent corn, 60 percent beans, so, basically the corn I raise I will feed, and the rest is the cash crop of soybeans."

While Hanson and Rommereim's farms are too wet, it is a far contrast from much of South Dakota, which is too dry. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicated drought conditions in central and north central portions of the state. The June 12 USDA crop ratings also reflected the recent heat and dry weather.

The state's corn crop was rated at 45 percent good to excellent, a drop of 17 percent versus the previous week. Soybeans were only 43 percent good to excellent.

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