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A color-coded precipitation probability map of the United States. The majority of South Dakota is predicted to have wetter than average precipitation, with the highest likelihood being in the southwest corner of the state. For a complete description, call SDSU Extension at 605-688-6729.

May 2020 Climate Outlook

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.

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.

A patch of soil with kochia weeds growing throughout.

Temperature and Herbicide Performance

In South Dakota, the spring can come with a wide range of temperature fluctuations. This will affect the performance of burndown herbicides. Depending upon the target weed, type of herbicide and application rate, there will likely be decreased weed control in cooler temperatures.

A red sprayer in a green field with a cloudy sky in the background.

How to Stop Drift

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.

Young, emerging corn plants with browning on their leaf tips due to frost damage.

Low Temperature Damage to Corn and Soybean

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.

Young corn plants emerging in a field during early spring.

Corn Emergence During Cold Weather

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.

Photo of corn planted two weeks apart. Early planted corn on the left much larger than the later planted corn on the right.

How Early Is Too Early to Plant Row Crops?

Although it can be tempting to get a head start with row crops, it is important to be mindful of soil temperatures and the associated risks with planting early.

A small black bug with tan margins on the wings. This insect is resting on a grass seed head.

Drought Conditions Magnifying Impact of Black Grass Bugs

With much of South Dakota continuing to experience moderate-to-extreme drought conditions, black grass bugs could become a concern in some areas. Large populations of black grass bugs can cause severe damage to pasture.

Young corn emerging in a no-till field.

Estimating Corn Emergence With Growing Degree Days: Data from May 7, 2021

With corn planting well underway in South Dakota, the next step is monitoring its emergence. One of the factors that can speed up or delay corn emergence is air temperature.

Newborn black angus calf with mother cow.

Beef: Best Management Practices for Cow-Calf Production

This comprehensive book provides producers with insight and education into the latest beef management, handling practices and technology.