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VIDEO CROPSTOP: Faith and Dupree, S.D., want 'just a little rain'

FAITH, S.D. -- The big cow-calf country west of the Missouri river and north of Pierre, S.D., is dry, with stubbornly low cattle markets. The Faith, S.D., area had a good start to planting, but alfalfa weevils and some 100-degree days in mid-June...

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Scott Vance, co-owner and manager of Faith Livestock Commission Co., Inc., says it's been drier that the past two unusually wet years in his trade area. Photo taken June 13, 2016, at Faith, S.D. (Forum News Service/Agweek/Mikkel Pates)

FAITH, S.D. - The big cow-calf country west of the Missouri river and north of Pierre, S.D., is dry, with stubbornly low cattle markets.

The Faith, S.D., area had a good start to planting, but alfalfa weevils and some 100-degree days in mid-June started slowing things down. “The grass is holding, but the hay crop is sure short this year,” says Scott Vance, co-owner and manager of Faith Livestock Commision Co., Inc.

Alfalfa will be a third of the past two years’ crops, and grass crops will be half of the usual amount for the past few years. Vance says recent years were “pretty fantastic,” though. “We’ve kind of gotten used to great hay crops and lots of rain, and moisture and this year we’re kind of getting back to normal, back to average,” he says. “It’s a little bit tough, but most everybody in this area understands and don’t over-stock.”

Stock water supplies are good, and many ranchers also have a hay carryover from past lush years, he says.

“We’re not in any dire shape,” Vance says. Ranchers tell him they have a year’s supply of hay on hand, but “in the rancher business that goes by pretty fast.”

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Cattle markets are stuck in the doldrums. A period of higher prices in the past few years offered an opportunity for a son or son-in-law to come into the operation. “It was a fantastic ride all of  the way up,” he says. “Like anytime, with a good market, it never quite lasts long enough. At that level, we never thought we’d come right off, but it’s come off more than anticipated.”

Charlie Brooks of Brooks Ranch, about 30 miles east in Dupree, S.D., gets occasional help from four sons - Todd, Travis, Troy and Thane - and a son-in-law, Dale Henderson. This year, Brooks planted all of his land to winter wheat and spring wheat, because of rotational considerations. The last time his land had been completely wheat was 10 or 20 years ago. Planting only wheat felt a little strange, he says, adding he’ll be done early with this year’s harvest.

What will he do with the time? He’d “try to figure out what to do with the wheat,” he says.

Here are weekly crop-weather reports from the June 27 crop progress and condition reports from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

South Dakota Much of the state remained dry, with 6.6 days suitable for field work. Topsoil moisture is 63 percent adequate to surplus, with subsoil at 71 percent adequate to surplus. Stock water supplies are 83 percent adequate to surplus.

Corn declined slightly to 73 percent good to excellent from 74 percent the previous week, with not enough silked to publish a figure. Soybeans are 75 percent good to excellent, down from 78 percent the previous week. Soybeans were 98 percent emerged, compared to 93 percent average.

Spring wheat condition was 58 percent good to excellent, with 73 percent headed, ahead of the 52 percent average. Barley was 47 percent good to excellent, with 59 percent headed, ahead of 40 percent average. Sunflowers were 97 percent planted, ahead of the 85 percent average, with 32 percent emerged.

Alfalfa hay was 32 percent good to excellent, with first cutting completed at 87 percent, compared to 62 percent average. Second cutting was 9 percent complete.

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North Dakota The northwest part of the state received enough rain to cause minor flooding and crop disease issues, and some farmers in the state received hail damage. South-central and southwest crops are under stress from too little rain. Farmers have been applying herbicide and fungicide, with 5.6 days suitable for field work.

Corn declined to 81 percent good to excellent condition, compared to 86 percent the previous week. Corn was 13 percent silked, ahead of the 1 percent average. Soybeans were rated 77 percent good to excellent, compared to 78 percent the previous week. About 19 percent had bloomed, compared to a 3 percent average.

Spring wheat is 78 percent good to excellent, down from 82 percent the previous week. Wheat is 60 percent headed, compared to a 23 percent average. Barley is 83 percent good to excellent with 60 percent headed, compared to a 20 percent average. Canola is 85 percent good to excellent, with 59 percent blooming compared to 27 percent average.

Other ratings in the good to excellent categories were: sunflowers, 68 percent; flaxseed, 83 percent; dry peas, 86 percent; dry beans, 65 percent; potatoes, 41 percent; alfalfa, 53 percent.

Minnesota A quarter of the alfalfa crop had its second cutting, 10 days ahead of the five-year average. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork, with continued wet conditions in the north. Topsoil and subsoil moisture were rated 88 percent adequate to surplus.

Corn was rated 81 percent good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from the previous week. Soybeans were rated 75 percent good to excellent, down 1 percentage point from the previous week.

Spring wheat condition was 65 percent good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from the previous week. It was 72 percent at or beyond the heading stage, 12 days ahead of the five-year average.

Other crop ratings were: oats, 78 percent headed, compared to 46 percent average, 12 days ahead of average; barley, 69 percent good to excellent condition, up 4 percent from the previous week, with 70 percent headed, compared to the 37 percent five-year average.

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Other crop ratings in good to excellent: dry edible beans, 63 percent; sunflowers, 56 percent; potatoes, 88 percent; sugar beets, 82 percent.

Montana Scattered thunderstorms at the end of the week punctuated mostly hot, dry conditions, with high winds. Temperatures ranged from the low 80s and low 100s to the upper 20s and lower 50s. Soil moisture conditions 71 percent adequate and subsoil was 66 percent adequate to surplus - both slightly below five-year averages.

Winter wheat is rated 64 percent good to excellent, the same as the previous two weeks, but ahead of the five-year average of 61 percent.

Spring wheat was 88 percent in the boot stage, compared to the 48 percent five-year average, with 25 percent headed, compared to the 14 percent average. Barley was 83 percent in the boot stage, compared to 61 percent average, with 46 percent headed, compared to 23 percent average. Durum wheat was 56 percent boot stage, 25 percent average.

Camelina was 28 percent blooming, 24 percent average; canola was 66 percent blooming, 49 percent average; dry edible beans, 96 percent emerged, 86 percent average; dry edible peas, 82 percent blooming, 39 percent average; flaxseed, 29 percent blooming, 21 percent average; mustard seed, 86 percent blooming, 40 percent average; safflower, 31 percent blooming, 15 percent average.

Related Topics: DROUGHTAGWEEKTVSOUTH DAKOTA
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