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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.

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.

Two adult wasps side-by-side. The left is black and yellow and is resting on a green leaf. The right is black, yellow and burnt orange in color and is resting on a piece of wood.

Wasp Activity Is Ramping Up

With their distinctive black and yellow stripes and tendency to hang out in groups, wasps receive attention no matter the time of year. As the weather warms up and spring progresses, you may notice more wasp activity in your yard or around your house.

Two insects. The left is a wasp with a dark head, reddish brown thorax (the segment behind the head), and a black and yellow banded abdomen. The right is a hornet with a yellow head, dark brown thorax (the segment behind the head), and a brown and yellow banded abdomen.

No, It’s Not a Murder Hornet.

By now, you’ve probably read headlines about the Asian giant hornets (aka “murder hornets”) that were spotted in Washington state and across the border in Canada. It is important to note that Asian giant hornets have only been confirmed in a small area of Washington and Canada. These wasps have not been observed in South Dakota or our neighboring states.

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.

Teardrop shaped tick with a dark brown body and legs and an elongate white patch behind its head.

Ticks Becoming Active in South Dakota

The arrival of spring in South Dakota means warmer weather and more outdoor activities. However, it also brings an increase in tick activity.

A sump pump and emergency backup battery set up in a basement. Courtesy: Jeff Covey (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Flooding and Sump Pumps

For many homes with a basement or crawl space, a sump pump and drainage system can help reduce the risk of a basement flooding from high water table situations. Here are a few tips for making sure your sump pump is working as it should, and you are not causing problems for your neighbors downstream.

Black insect with a white spot on the back and orange tipped legs and antennae.

A fly? A hornet? Nope, it’s a sawfly!

This spring, there have been multiple reports of people seeing large fly-like insects in their yards. These insects are sawflies, and all reports thus far have been the elm sawfly (Cimbex americana).

A stock pond with algae blooms developing throughout.

How Important Is Water Quality to Livestock?

Water is the most important nutrient to all livestock animals and is sometimes overlooked. Poor quality water can have a negative effect on growth, reproduction, and general productivity of the animal.

A rancher inspecting the water quality of a small stock pond.

How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Poor-quality water will cause an animal to drink less. As a result, they also consume less forage and feed, which leads to weight loss, decreased milk production and lower fertility.