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Helpful moisture and temperature have south central South Dakota corn rating high

Agronomist Logan Reuman of Presho, South Dakota, discusses the state of the corn crop on Aug. 18, 2022, north of Interstate Highway 90, near Presho, South Dakota, on the Agweek Corn and Soybean Tour. That part of the state has had good moisture, temperature and pollination.

A corn ear at right shows a healthy number of kernels while a crop consultant counts kernels at left, to determine yield potential.
Crop consultant Logan Reuman of Presho, South Dakota, on Aug. 18, 2022, counts a healthy 16 rows of kernels around a healthy, well-filled ear of corn, in green stalks and leaves where often crops start showing stress by late August. Reuman talked to Agweek during a stop on the 2022 Agweek Corn and Soybean Tour.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek
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PRESHO, S.D. — Crop consultant Logan Reuman rates corn progress in the Presho area, at least a “seven” on a 10-point scale, escaping the dry conditions that have bedeviled corn farmers to the south and east in 2022.

“Mother Nature — you can’t control Mother Nature,” Logan said. “It’s out of our control, and for the most part we’re very lucky.”

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Logan Reuman, 30, is the owner-operator of a private crop consultant business with 10 clients, as well as a partner in his family’s seed and crop protection dealership that serves about 85 customers from Presho, South Dakota. Reuman spoke with Agweek on the 2022 Agweek Corn and Soybean Tour. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2022.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

Reuman took time for an interview in the Agweek Corn and Soybean Tour on Aug. 18, 2022. Looking at a representative corn field, he noted some of the otherwise thriving ears had a few “skips” for kernels that didn’t mature, as if the crop was pollinating when the weather had been hot. It’s also possible that — on field edges — grasshoppers were eating at the the silks early, causing non-pollination for some of the kernels.

That’s a small criticism.

Reuman, 30, and his father, Craig, 64, are Pioneer Seed dealers and ag crop protection retailers for about 85 customers in Lyman County, Jones County, and northern Tripp, Jackson and Bennett counties. Farmers in the area primarily work with corn, soybeans, wheat, milo and sunflowers. Logan, a 2014 graduate of South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, has about 10 private crop consulting customers that he also works with.

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A crop consultant holds a long, healthy corn cob, with only a few empty kernels, signifying either hot temperatures during pollinating or grasshopper depredation on corn "silks," on which pollen travels.
This year’s corn ears in the Presho, South Dakota, area show signs of some heat stress and grasshopper depredation of silks early in the pollination period, but crop consultant Logan Reuman rates the crop at least a “seven” on a 10-point scale. Reuman said farmers that might have cut corn for silage are planning to harvest it because of recent prices and crop prospects. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2022, near Presho, South Dakota.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

“We’ve had some really good rains here, timely as well,” Logan said. “That is helping us to keep our healthy crop late into the year.”

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Good growing conditions during the past two and a half months have resulted in an eastern North Dakota soybean crop that is better than expected considering the late planting date, said Mark Huso, owner of Huso Crop Consulting and Soil Testing in Lakota, on the Agweek Corn and Soybean Tour.

Not much stress

Planting time for corn in this area was “right on time” at the end April and early May.

“Our harvest should be right on time, especially because we didn’t have any weather to hold back our corn,” he said. “It just kept growing.”

The crop had plenty of growing degree days, he said.

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The Reuman Pioneer Seed dealership at Presho, South Dakota, was started by the Reuman family in 2011 It serves 85 customers in several counties and includes a seed, crop protection, and crop consulting business that deals with about 10 producers. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2022, near Presho, South Dakota.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

“The crop really did not stress much,” he said, noting that pollination in his core counties was really good. There were a few instances where clients had tried to plant before the April 25, 2022.

“A couple of fields pollinated when it was really hot for a couple of days there,” he said, referring to northern Tripp County. Pollination was “a little bit spotty there” but still will be OK. Anything planted after April 28, 2022, however, looks good.

Grasshoppers are the main pest problem this year.

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“Terrible,” Reuman said, referring to the hopping, munching menaces. "I don’t know if it was just the ‘perfect storm.’ We had plenty of moisture and it wasn’t terribly dry.”

Clients have had to spray some field borders.

Looking ahead, as farmers plant more and more corn in this area, Logan thinks corn genetics providers may have to provide corn rootworm protection.

“Right now, nothing is drastic that we really have to worry about yet,” he said.

Most farms in this area stick with around the 100-day maturity corn, Logan said.

“We will reach out and plant up to 106-day corn. We will back down to 94-day (maturity) as well, just depending the customer’s preference on harvest maturity, moisture and all of that.”

A well-kept Pioneer seed dealership office and shop, is flanked by a row of white, branded hopper bins at left.
The Reuman family at Presho, South Dakota, has been a Pioneer Seed Co. dealer since 2011. Logan Reuman also has a crop consulting business with clients in Lyman County, Jones County, and northern Tripp, Jackson and Bennett counties. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2022.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

Some of Logan’s clients typically plant some corn for silage and feed because they need it for animals.

“This year, for the most part, with our crop prices and crop yield potential, I think there’s going to be a lot of corn that goes for grain,” he said.

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We multi-task

Farmers and ranchers in this area grow so many different crops that they are used to having crops mature at the same time.

“Corn (harvest) will probably overlap with our sunflower harvest,” he said. “It seems like corn will withstand late-season (conditions) fairly well, so you kind of take it field-by-field, and wait until the time comes to make that decision.”

Soybeans and milo are usually taken first.

A deer trophy adorns the wall in the Reuman Ag office building at Presho, S.D., flanked by a vintage Pioneer Seed bag, framed as art.
Besides helping their customers and clients and customers with crops, the Reuman family takes time for outdoor sporting opportunities in the Presho, South Dakota, as well as Kansas and Nebraska. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2022, near Presho, South Dakota.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

Also on the technology horizon for this area, Logan and his clients are looking at more drone technology for scouting fields, keeping producers apprised of disease or weed pressure. They’re also considering working with moisture sensors, to see how much moisture is in the soil profile during critical times in the growing stage of the plant.

There is very little irrigation in the Presho area. There are some irrigation pivots along the Missouri River about 20 miles to the north, but his clients are non-irrigated and more than 95% no-till, working to retain moisture in the ground. Some producers here have been doing no-till production for more than 30 years. The bulk of farmers have been using no-till for more than 20 years.

A trophy showcase at Reuman Ag of Presho, S.D., includes a display of plaques, cigars and a pith helmet, connected to their success as as a Pioneer Seed dealership.
A trophy case in their office shows that Logan Reuman and his father, Craig, have received recognition from Pioneer Seed for a dealership the family started in 2011 dealership at Presho, South Dakota. Logan also runs a crop consulting enterprise. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2022.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

“What we’ve been seeing is that if you keep winter wheat, spring wheat, or small grain in your rotation, planting some kind of corn or row crop back on it has really helped them achieve higher yields by conserving moisture for July/August," Logan said.

“We have been implementing more strip-till into the wheat stubble for hopefully planting corn or milo back onto that strip till acre the next year,” he said. “We’ve been noticing faster crop emergence in the spring, so we’ve been having better stands on the strip till, versus complete no-till right into wheat stubble.”

A set of gleaming Pioneer Seed hopper bins stands next to a building on the Reuman Ag headquarters at Presho, S.D.
Most farmers growing corn and soybeans in the Presho, South Dakota, area, have been using no-till techniques for more than 20 years. Some have been doing it 30 years, says crop consultant Logan Reuman, whose family also is in the seed business. Photo taken Aug. 18, 2022.
Mikkel Pates / Agweek

Strip tilling reduces “hair-pinning,” he said.

Hair-pinning is a residue management issue for many no-farmers, Logan said. It occurs when too much residue is left in the field from the previous year. Seeding into the heavy residue with disc drills causes “hair-pinning” when the disc doesn’t cut through the residue and instead pushes the residue into the seed slot.

When this happens, seed won’t have good soil contact, resulting in poor germination and establishment, Logan said The problem is worsened when the combine doesn’t evenly distribute the residue across the full width of the combine header, leaving some areas with greater residue than others.

Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV.
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