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Record-breaking heat, drought causing concerns for South Dakota Farmers

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 6:53 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The record-breaking heat and ongoing drought we have seen over the summer have been causing headaches for many people throughout the state. Especially farmers, whose income is dependent on the weather having good enough conditions for their crops.

Due to the hot weather and lack of rain, some farmers are worried their crops won’t make it to harvest.

The weather has not been kind to farmers this year starting off cooler than normal in spring, then the temperature jumping to record high heat, making it harder for crops to grow. Add in the drought, and it has made this a tough year for the farming industry.

“Beans that have been in the ground for six weeks aren’t eight inches tall yet, normally they’d be knee-high,” said Jeff Kippley, a farmer and cattle producer in Aberdeen. “Corn should be chest high as long as it’s been in the ground and it’s barely knee-high.”

Some farms don’t have an irrigation system, as not all soil will benefit from having one installed.

“I don’t have irrigation, so there’s not much I can do, I fertilized, I’ve sprayed, everything’s clean so not much I can do now but hope for rain, pray for rain,” said Larry Birgen, a farmer in Beresford.

For farmers that do have some type of water system, the drought makes keeping up with them even more important.

“Normally if you have a water tank issue you have a few days to worry about it, now if you have an issue, you better be there right now,” said Kippley.

Many farmers are worried their crops won’t survive and if they do without cooler weather and water, they won’t have enough to make a profit.

“I think the big thing is this doesn’t just affect the farmers, especially in rural areas, it affects every community, every business, money’s not coming to the farmers, it’s not coming to town,” said Birgen.

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