September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.
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If the forecast holds true, it looks like it is going to be another year of excessive soil moisture and possible flooding come this spring. The increased level of soil moisture has implications with regards to plant stand establishment as well as root rot and nematode infestations.
Soil temperature is an important consideration for deciding when to begin planting spring crops. If producers in South Dakota would like a quick reference for soil temperatures in their area, the SD Mesonet network measures soil temperature at several weather stations throughout the state.
Temperatures are forecast to reach 32°F or lower in large areas of South Dakota for several nights beginning on May 7, 2020. While a relatively low percentage of planted crops are likely to be emerged at this point in time, producers may still want to evaluate individual fields for crop damage.
After a very welcome warm and relatively dry April, the month of May has brought winter-like temperatures again to South Dakota. Due to cold and wet conditions, concerns of the cold temperatures have been expressed by producers who have recently planted corn.
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On April 16, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released their climate outlook for May and the coming three-month period of May through July. There is a lot of uncertainty in the temperature outlook for the next one-to-three months in the Northern Plains Region.
Forage research indicates that, although alfalfa is considered to have good cold temperature tolerance, minor frost damage may occur when plants are exposed to air temperatures slightly below freezing for several hours, and more severe damage will be seen when temperatures drop below 25°F for four or more hours.
Low temperatures during the early morning hours of May 9–11, 2020 may have had detrimental effects on winter wheat in some areas of South Dakota. However, cooler spring temperatures that have slowed the winter wheat development this year may have actually been beneficial to S.D. producers, as later-maturing wheat is not as susceptible to injury from freezing temperatures.