Weather Forecast


Weekly Crop Weather Report: Precipitation, wet conditions slow start of harvesting


Precipitation and wet conditions have slowed the start to harvesting of row crops. Some areas of the state welcomed the moisture as a relief for the planted winter wheat. There were 4.0 days suitable for fieldwork in the past week. Some of the major farm activities included cutting silage, general care of livestock, seeding of winter wheat, and combining of row crops.

This report was based on information from county extension educators, Farm Service Agency county directors, and other reporters across the state.


Cool and wet weather and the first hard freeze of the season were the main topics of the week, according to the State Climate office of South Dakota. A fairly warm September gave way to much cooler conditions transitioning into October. Average temperatures for most of the state were in the upper 40s F except for a few stations. These average temperatures were below average by 4-10o F except for Spearfish (which had the advantage of wind flow over the Black Hills for several days last week, leading to much warmer temperatures). Spearfish also recorded the high temperature of the week at 83o F, while Porcupine had the low at 19o F.

All of the state reported some rainfall with the most moisture reaching the northeastern quarter of the state through Sunday. Most of the area east of a Vermillion to Aberdeen line received over 1 inch for the week, while the Clear Lake-Watertown-Sisseton area reported over 2 inches. Clear Lake had the highest total at 2.77 inches. Some western areas had much lower totals. Rapid City had the lowest report at 0.05 inch.

The colder temperatures were also associated with the first frost and hard freeze of the year in some locations. Much of the southwest and northwest reached a hard freeze (28o F or below). Areas from the James to Missouri Rivers also had a frost last week (32 o F or below). These first freeze dates were all somewhat later than average in most locations.


Topsoil rated at 69 percent in the adequate to surplus range last week, compared to 61 percent in 2008 and 72 percent for the five-year average. Subsoil was rated at 56 percent in the adequate to surplus range, compared to 62 percent last year and 60 percent for the five-year average. Soil temperatures continued dropping with averages in the 50s F for all stations for the week.


Ninety-five percent of the corn is in or beyond the dent stage. Corn rated mature is at 57 percent, compared to 71 percent last year and 78 percent for the five-year average. Only 2 percent of corn was harvested for grain, compared to 5 percent last year. Ninety-six percent of the soybeans are dropping leaves, compared to last years 97 percent and five-year average of 98 percent. Fifty-eight percent of the soybean crop is rated mature, compared to 78 percent for both last year and the five-year average. Sixteen percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, compared to 37 percent last year and 30 percent for the five-year average. Seventy-eight percent of the winter wheat seeding is complete, compared to 79 percent for the five-year average.


Cattle and sheep both rated 87 percent in good to excellent condition. Range and pasture rated at 63 percent in good to excellent condition, compared to 59 percent last year and 43 percent for the five-year average.