SD corn harvest near done; low prices big concern
By Carson Walker
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — South Dakota farmers have harvested most of this year's row crops and the frigid weather shouldn't hurt grain still in the field, though fall tillage is probably over because the ground is frozen.
The state had colder-than-normal temperatures over the past week, but dry weather helped the remaining harvest wrap up in most areas, the National Agriculture Statistics Service said Monday in its weekly crop progress report.
Soybeans are done and the corn harvest is an estimated 95 percent complete, which is behind last year when it was out of the field but ahead of the 84 percent average for this time of year, the report said.
"In both corn and soybeans, we're actually running ahead of the five-year average," said Carter Anderson, state director of the statistics service.
Brian Smith, of Montrose, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, said there's very little corn still in the field around his farm in eastern South Dakota.
The cold temps don't keep farmers from harvesting the rest, as long as there's no snow on it, he said. But fall tillage is likely done, Smith said.
"The ground is frozen now, so a guy couldn't do that if you wanted to. I doubt it's going to thaw out enough," he said.
The corn harvest in some parts of the Midwest was hampered by a shortage of storage and propane, but that wasn't a problem in South Dakota, Smith said.
The big ongoing concern is low prices for corn and soybeans.
"There's a lot of corn out there right now. It's going to be an interesting year going ahead. It would take a major event to drive prices higher right now," Smith said.
"The margins are tighter, so we're going to have to buckle down and watch our marketing and see what happens."