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Weather slows harvest for SD producers

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Mel Stunes, a farm worker for John Schumacher, combines rows of corn Tuesday morning in Schumacher’s field west of Mitchell. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)2 / 7
John Schumacher a local farmer walks back to the car with his oil can after filling his combine with oil Tuesday morning west of Mitchell. Schumacher who had been combining since 4:00 A.M. trying to stay ahead of the weather said combining takes a toll on his tractor. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)3 / 7
John Schumacher, left, and his worker Mel Stunes, of Mitchell, fill Schumachers combine with oil Tuesday morning west of Mitchell. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)4 / 7
John Schumacher a local farmer waits with oil can in hand for the combine to finish a row of corn Tuesday morning west of Mitchell. Schumacher who had been combining since 4 a.m. trying to stay ahead of the weather said combining takes a toll on his tractor. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)5 / 7
John Schumacher, a local farmer, eats an apple while driving back to his farm after unloading a load of corn Tuesday morning in Mitchell. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)6 / 7
Corn falls from John Schumacher’s bins through the grates at the corn elevator on the west side of Mitchell Tuesday morning. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)7 / 7

Weather has put a damper on this fall’s harvest.

According to a United States Department of Agriculture crop report, below-normal temperatures and wet field conditions plagued South Dakota farmers last week, continuing to slow row crop harvest progress in some areas.

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It’s a stark contrast to last year’s dry conditions, which meant most farmers were already done with harvest by now. The report states the corn harvest was 63 percent complete by Nov. 3, far behind last year’s 100-percent completion but near the 65-percent average.

Soybeans were 92 percent complete, behind last year’s but near the 90-percent average. Sorghum and sunflower harvests were also listed as “well behind” last year’s harvests. Winter wheat, on the other hand, was reported as 85 percent emerged, ahead of last year’s 32 percent and the 79 average.

This week offered more of the same, with Tuesday offering the season’s first noticeable snowfall for the Mitchell area, lending more than 2 inches of snow according to a National Weather Service volunteer observer and a chilly daytime high of 38 degrees, according to AccuWeather.

According to the livestock pasture and range report, pasture conditions were unchanged with 2 percent rated very poor, 7 poor, 37 fair, 48 good and 6 excellent.

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