It's once again 'the tale of two (wheat) harvests in South Dakota," with winter wheat harvest wrapping up and spring wheat harvest approaching the final stages, said Reid Christopherson, executive director of the state Wheat Commission.
Winter wheat yields were "outstanding," while spring wheat yields, though hurt somewhat by uncooperative weather, have been good overall, he said.
South Dakota dual wheat crops typically are among the first to be harvested in the Upper Midwest and are a sign that harvest is set to begin in earnest elsewhere in the region.
Crops overall generally look good in much of the region, although there are problems spots, especially in North Dakota, according to the weekly crop progress report released Aug. 10 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The report reflected conditions on Aug. 9.
Minnesota and South Dakota crops continue to fare best, with North Dakota crops struggling the most. Iowa and Montana crop conditions are mixed, the report found.
Corn and soybeans are doing best overall, with spring wheat generally suffering the most, especially in North Dakota where unfavorable weather last fall and this spring hurt many fields.
In South Dakota, fields of winter wheat — planted last fall — generally came through their growing season in fine shape. "The stars just seemed to line up," Christopherson said.
As of Aug. 9, 95% of winter wheat in South Dakota was harvested, according to NASS.
Spring wheat didn't fare quite as well as winter wheat.
"A little bit of everything," including extreme heat and moisture shortages, affected spring wheat this growing seasons. "But still, a very good crop," Christopherson said. Typically, spring wheat yields are lower than those of winter wheat, "and I think that's what we'll see again this year."
Spring wheat harvest has been hampered by "some complications with rainfall and moisture issues. But we've been plugging on through," he said.
South Dakota spring wheat harvest was 59% completed on Aug. 9, a rate expected to rise sharply by the time the Aug. 17 crop progress report is released.
Here's a closer look at what the report said about spring wheat, corn and soybeans, the region's three major crops, on Aug. 7. Remember, statewide averages can obscure major differences in crop conditions in that state.
Montana — 15% of the crop was harvested.
Minnesota — 19% of the crop was harvested.
North Dakota — 7% of the crop was combined.
South Dakota — 59% of the crop was harvested.
Iowa — 69% of the crop was rated good or excellent, 23% fair and 8% poor or very poor.
Minnesota — 84% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, 13% fair and 3% poor or very poor.
North Dakota — 72% was in good or excellent condition, 23% fair and 5% poor or very poor.
South Dakota — 83% was rated good or excellent, 13% fair and 4% poor or very poor.
Minnesota — 84% was in good or excellent condition, 13% fair and 3% poor or very poor.
North Dakota — 67% was rated good or excellent, 29% fair and 4% poor or very poor.
South Dakota — 85% was in good or excellent shape, 11% fair and 4% poor or very poor.
Iowa — 70% was rated good or excellent, 23% fair and 7% poor or very poor.