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.
Southern rust was found in a few corn fields scouted last week. This rust is developing very late in the season and therefore its impact on corn yield will be minimal.
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.
Corn ear rots are one of the last diseases to scout for in the corn growing season, and sometimes they are ignored or forgotten entirely. Ear rots can cause yield loss in the form of grain quality at harvest, but also cause losses during storage.
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.
The South Dakota Pest Management guides are now available for free. The guides offer recommendations for controlling weeds, insects, and diseases in a variety of South Dakota crops.
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.
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.
Tan spot and powdery mildew pathogens are two residue-borne pathogens that can infect wheat early in the season. These diseases can lead to poor tillering, and their continued development can lead to yield loss.
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.