The wettest year in 125 years in South Dakota badly damaged the 2019 crop season, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates released Friday.
The figures colored just how difficult the season was for South Dakota’s ag industry in the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Production Summary for 2019.
The survey of growers and producers showed South Dakota’s soybean production was nearly sliced in half in 2019, down to 146.2 million bushels, after growing 251.1 million bushels in 2018, a drop of nearly 42 percent.
The state’s farmers produced 566.9 million bushels of corn in 2019, down from 777.6 million bushels in 2018, which was a 27 percent decrease year-over-year. Among the nation’s largest corn-growing states, only Ohio had a larger drop in 2019 production compared to 2018, down 31.7 percent.
The NASS noted that because there were significant unharvested acres of corn in many Upper Midwest states, including South Dakota, those areas and their expected production were included in the report. The service said it will also re-contact some growers and potentially update the 2019 data, if needed.
“The practice of including this production is standard NASS policy, however there were more acres of corn and soybeans than normal still standing for harvest this year,” the report said.
Yields were down for both corn and soybeans compared to 2018. Corn yields were estimated at 145 bushels per acre in 2019, down from 160 bushels in 2018, but South Dakota was also at 145 in 2017. The state’s soybean yields were close to those in the past few years, with 42.5 bushels per acre landing just off the pace of 43 and 45 bushels per acre in the previous two growing seasons.
South Dakota planted 3.5 million acres of soybeans in 2019, down from the 5.65 million in both 2017 and 2018. For corn, 3.9 million acres were harvested in 2019, down from the 4.86 million acres in 2018.
South Dakota was one of five states to have its wettest year on record dating back to 1895. Joining South Dakota with the honor were Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, while Nebraska had its third-wettest year in that span, and Kansas and Illinois both saw 2019 rank No. 5 in their states’ history for statewide precipitation.
National corn production was down 5 percent compared to a year ago, estimated at 13.7 billion bushels, with an average yield of 168 bushels per acre, down 8.4 bushels per acre compared to 2018.
Soybean production was down 6 percent in 2019 with 341 million bushels produced, and the yield was 73 bushels per acre, up slightly over 2018.
While holding less corn than a year ago, South Dakota ranked among the top states for stored corn, with an estimated 523.9 million bushels being stored either on the farm or at mills, elevators, terminals or processors. Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska were the states that had more in storage as of Dec 1. At the end of 2018, South Dakota had 650 million bushels still in storage.