Corn looks good in Lake County
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
The local corn crop looks good, but only time will tell Lake County farmers whether their soybean fields will produce a good harvest this fall. Overall, crop conditions are on the positive side in Lake County, according to Mark Stoller, manager at Madison Farmers Elevator, providing an improvement over last year.|
"Obviously, things are better than they were in 2012," Stoller said. "Yields are going to vary across the county, but generally speaking, the corn is looking real good."
Stoller said that harvested corn could produce 150 to 160 bushels per acre in Lake County. Across South Dakota, a mid-August report from the U.S. Agriculture Department predicted an average of 138 bushels per acre for corn.
The state's average corn yield is forecast at 37 bushels per acre higher than last year, which would produce 731 million bushels in South Dakota.
According to Stoller, area corn plants have produced good ear development, but the Lake County corn fields have provided a "very good stand count." The corn seed that went into the soil last spring had impressive per-kernel germination.
"We've seen more plants per acre than we normally would have, and each of those produces an ear of corn," Stoller said.
Across South Dakota, the USDA reported on Monday that the corn crop is rated at 13 percent excellent and 50 percent good. Only 3 percent was rated very poor.
Stoller said the local corn harvest could start as early as next week.
However, uncertainty surrounds the results that farmers will have this fall with the Lake County soybean crop.
"The dryness that we've had during the last 30 days makes it hard to tell what the beans will do," Stoller said.
August rainfall provides the fuel for soybean production, and Lake County saw minor precipitation last month.
Soybean yields will depend on whether the plants had enough moisture to produce four soybean seeds in the pods or just three. Farmers will also look at average soybean seed size to judge field production.
"Right now, the bean yields are tough to tell," Stoller said.
For all South Dakota farmers, USDA officials were forecasting 36 bushels per acre at mid-August, six bushels per acre higher than 12 months ago. Last month, the state's soybean production was estimated at 167 million bushels, 18 percent higher than the 2012 harvest.
The U.S. Drought Monitor, which is managed by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb., listed Lake County as "abnormally dry," one of about two dozen East River counties that currently hold that designation for all or part of their areas. The latest information from the Drought Monitor was released Thursday (today).
The same report listed all or parts of 13 counties in northeastern South Dakota as having moderate drought conditions. In addition, the southwestern quarter of the state, except for the so-far untroubled Black Hills, has its region affected by dry conditions that range from abnormally dry to severe drought in the southwestern corner of Fall River County.
In early July, the Drought Monitor had most of East River unaffected by drought or dry conditions.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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