2019 has been a year fraught with challenges for ranchers across South Dakota. Abundant precipitation is usually a blessing, however, wet conditions coupled with a cool spring followed by warmer temperatures has caused another problem across the rangelands of South Dakota: ergot poisoning.
Winter kill and general stand loss of alfalfa has specifically been of concern in many parts of South Dakota the last two years. Most observed alfalfa winter kill is due to low, wet or flooded areas where plants were suffocated and died over the winter.
The goals of applying any crop protection products include: increasing effectiveness, mitigating drift, and maximizing profits. We will focus on mitigating drift, even though all three interact with each other.
Smut is a fungal disease that can attack the leaves, stalks, tassels, silks and cobs. While many fungal diseases cause spots on the leaves or stems, smut is much more flamboyant.
A few oat fields that were recently scouted were found to have barley yellow dwarf virus infected plants. The infected plants were few and scattered throughout the oat fields.
Alfalfa weevil populations are high this year, creating challenges for producers. Questions have arisen on how to get some value out of the forage by grazing it rather than putting it up for hay.
A combination of tillage, no residue, and lack of crop canopy can lead to severe erosion and topsoil loss in the face of extreme weather patterns in the spring. The most effective strategy for producers to adapt to these extreme events is to improve soil health.
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture is again offering pesticide container recycling services across the state. The list of 2020 dates and locations is available now, with the first collection events on July 13 in Herreid and Selby, S.D.
Most of the questions that have been coming in lately, and also earlier this summer, relate to tomato problems. Despite early predictions that this summer was going to be dry, many areas have received above average rainfall with many parts of South Dakota far exceeding typical rainfall amounts in the month of August. Many gardeners received 5 to 8” of rain or more in the first three weeks of August alone.