VIDEO CROPSTOP: Hot days in corn country
TURTON, S.D. -- Corn thrives on heat and moisture, and farmers in Turton, S.D., were getting plenty of the former, with generally enough of the latter, on a mid-June day in which temperatures soared into the mid-90s.
TURTON, S.D. - Corn thrives on heat and moisture, and farmers in Turton, S.D., were getting plenty of the former, with generally enough of the latter, on a mid-June day in which temperatures soared into the mid-90s.
Spink County is one of the state’s top producers of both corn and soybeans. Recent rains, and the possibility of more to come, had improved the outlook for crops, at least temporarily.
“Before the rain came, there were some nervous people,” says Wayne Board, vice president of Farmers State Bank of Turton. “Right now, because we got the rain, crops are looking great.”
Though corn and soybeans are the area’s primary crops, farmers here also grow spring wheat and sunflowers.
As is the case in both South Dakota and the Upper Midwest overall, wheat acres in the Turton area have been declining, with farmers planting more corn and soybeans at wheat’s expense.
Relatively attractive sunflower prices this spring encouraged Turton-
area farmers to plant more of the crop, Board says.
Some of the land around Turton isn’t suited to crops, so livestock is common in the area. But pastures generally are green, reflecting the recent rains.
Typical, atypical Small farm towns like Turton are common across the rural Upper Midwest.
Founded in 1886 and named after Turton, England, the original home of an early settler, Turton’s population, as is the case with most farm towns, has been declining for decades. It peaked at 323 in 1930 and stands at about 50 today.
Also like most small farm towns in the region, Turton no longer has its own high school - Turton High School closed in 1956. But the school’s mascot, a frog, is still seen on signs and T-shirts.
Unlike many small farm towns, Turton still has a post office, which has been operating since 1887.
Also unlike many small farm towns, Turton has a number of relatively new buildings, including ones that house the post office, the local fire department and Farmers State Bank of Turton. The privately owned bank has been run by three generations of the Troske family.
More rain needed Recently, Turton-area crops dealt with high humidity and a strong, steady wind, as well as the more than 90-degree temperatures. The combination stressed crops and increased the need for more rain.
“If the weather stays high and dry like this, we’ll be looking for rain by the end of June,” Board says. Typically, “we’re dry by the Fourth of July.”