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a map of the United States with different colors showing the precipitation outlook variations.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

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.

Two leaves of corn, one showing signs of Southern Rust, the other with Common Rust.

Southern Rust Developing Late in Corn

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.

A patch of western wheatgrass with ergot fungus growing throughout.

Ergot in Western Wheatgrass and the Potential Effects for Winter Grazing

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.

A field of green winter wheat emerging from a layer of light snow.

Climate Adaptability of Winter Wheat

For most of us, wheat is wheat. However, there is a distinct difference between spring and winter wheat, even though the vegetative characteristics of these two wheat types are very similar.

Gibberella ear rot and Fusarium spp. symptoms on two corn ears.

Gibberella and Fusarium Ear Rots Developing in Corn

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.

A producer loading a planter with fungicide-treated soybean seeds.

Pre-Plant Disease Management Considerations

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.

sun rising over South Dakota field

South Dakota Pest Management Guides

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.

A small black bug with tan margins on the wings. This insect is resting on a blade of grass that is green with white spots.

Black Grass Bug Activity Expected in Coming Weeks

Spring green-up is the time to be watching for black grass bug activity. Large populations of this early-season pest can cause severe damage to pasture (up to 90% forage reduction) and infest the edges of wheat fields.

A map of South Dakota illustrating soil temperatures on April 21, 2020. Temperatures throughout the state range from 41 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit. For more information, visit: https://climate.sdstate.edu/archive/maps/

Soil Temperature for Planting Spring 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.

An alfalfa field with noticeable dead patches due to winter kill.

Dealing With Alfalfa Winter Kill

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.