Northeast South Dakota rain, crops vary
SUMMIT, S.D. -- Nelson Grain Farms LLC is based in Grant County in northeast South Dakota. The David Nelson family works land in Codington and Roberts counties, so crop conditions vary.
SUMMIT, S.D. - Nelson Grain Farms LLC is based in Grant County in northeast South Dakota. The David Nelson family works land in Codington and Roberts counties, so crop conditions vary.
David, 55, is a fourth-generation farmer and works alongside sons, Lonnie, 38, and Dustin, 28, who he proudly refers to as the fifth generation on the farm. Their springtime crew plants and cares for a variety of crops - rye, wheat, soybeans, corn and sunflower.
The headquarters is on a "ridge" on the Coteau Hills, so it's colder there than seven miles west or east along U.S. Highway 81, southwest of Summit, Dustin says. Planting was "super dry," allowing them to plant in areas that have been muddy the past several years.
"We got the crops put in good, but we got a shot of rain last week, and we're just starting to see those emerge," Dustin says. Lonnie is the main player on the corn planter. Everything was planted May 15, and the rain came at about a perfect time.
As of the last week in May they were already spraying - touching up some weedy spots in no-till fields. "We're just running the same race we did last year," Dustin says. They've seen few glyphosate-resistant weeds so far, but they see more every year.
Not wasting any time, "the boys" on the Nelson farm were working ahead toward harvest, maintaining equipment they store in an impressive shed built in 2015. The shed is 327 feet - longer than the goal lines on a football field, and half the width at 72 feet.
"It's sure nice, with equipment costing so much these days, you keep things clean and keep the mice out of all of this new technology," Dustin says.
Yes, commodity prices have been down, but the Nelsons are philosophical about that.
"The beans took a little bit of a (upward price) run, so we got a little forward contracting that helped quite a bit, but all in all it's a tough year," Dustin says. "Farming's a lifestyle and you've got to take the good with the bad."