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Picking up the wet alfalfa windrows

SISSETON, S.D. -- The march of rain storms have made it a challenge to bring in the alfalfa hay crop on the Dale and Travis Rinas farm, north of Sisseton, S.D.

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Dale Rinas of Sisseton, S.D., rakes windrows of alfalfa to help in drying on July 14 with an eye toward baling the same evening. Photo taken July 14, 2018, near Sisseton, S.D. (Forum News Service/Agweek/Mikkel Pates)

SISSETON, S.D. - The march of rain storms have made it a challenge to bring in the alfalfa hay crop on the Dale and Travis Rinas farm, north of Sisseton, S.D.

Travis, 37, farms with his father, Dale, 61. The family typically combines about 3,000 acres - half corn and half soybeans. They also raise alfalfa and have a custom feedlot, which currently has about 600 to 700 "fat" cattle, or those being fed to the slaughter weight. "We supply all of the feed and we have a guy to supply the cattle," Travis says.

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Travis and Dale Rinas operates a custom cattle feeding operation. They have more than 600 head of fat cattle on feed right now.

The Rinases usually shoot for 40- to 50-bushel per acre soybeans and 160- to 180-bushel corn. Travis thinks those yields are certainly possible this year, "as long as it doesn't drown-out," he says, in an interview at the farm on July 14. Wheat in the area had declined some with all of the rain. Weather forecasts were for drying weather into the end of July, and even some cooling.

"Crops are looking good," Rinas says. "We've had a lot of rain over the past couple of weeks. Actually, it's been tough getting all the alfalfa up with all of the rain."

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Of course, the dominating topic is the markets. They've dropped - a lot, he says.

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Dale Rinas of Sisseton, S.D., rakes windrows of alfalfa to help in drying on July 14 with an eye toward baling the same evening.

"It makes it real tough to project to make any money right now," Travis says. He believes a lot of the market decline has been due to tariff conflicts between the U.S., China and others.

So far, he says he hasn't gotten politically active on the topic. "I have too many other things going on to do that. I don't really get into the politics of things," he says. "A guy might have to pretty soon if something don't happen."

Despite poor crop economics, landlords aren't coming down on rent and he thinks it will get tougher to satisfy lenders. Loan pressures will become greater for the 2019 crop, if something doesn't give, he says.

Related Topics: SOUTH DAKOTA
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