VOLGA, S.D. — The kickoff of the 2020 Agweek Cereal Crop Tour was a tale of two wheat crops in South Dakota.
The winter wheat harvest is around a third completed in South Dakota, and so far, yield results have been well above last year and above average. Jack Ingemansen is superintendent of South Dakota State University’s Foundation Seed Stock and overseas seed plots around the state. He says harvest has picked up in the last two weeks from their network of seed growers.
The quality of this year’s winter wheat crop in South Dakota is mixed, with favorable test weights on the early reports, but protein is another story.
“Obviously the protein levels with the high yields are going to be down. We haven’t seen any data come in yet, though, as we’re just getting started with our test plots,” Ingemansen says.
“We got some heat, so we got rid of the stripe rust which is usually a problem with winter wheat,” he adds.
In contrast to the winter wheat, South Dakota’s spring wheat may only be an average crop this year with yields mostly 50 to 60 bushels per acre, according to Jon Kleinjan, SDSU Extension crop production associate.
One exception is in the north-central part of the state, where Kleinjan says growers tell him they are going to have their best crop ever, but they didn’t get the heat early, and when they did, the reproductive stage was already complete.
Spring wheat harvest will start in the next week and Kleinjan says protein levels will likely be higher with the lower yields.
Spring wheat acreage was up in South Dakota this spring after a record year for prevented planting acres in 2019.
“We did rebound some," Kleinjan says. "The report I saw we’re up to 850,000 acres of spring wheat which is 33% more than last year, but remember last year it was so wet we were at an all-time low.”