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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.

Field of mixed cover crops containing oats.

Cover Crop Considerations for 2020

Producers across South Dakota are harvesting small grains. These crops provide an excellent window for adding a cover crop into your rotation.

A green combine harvesting wheat.

Factors Affecting Wheat Production Decisions: Producer survey findings

Recent USDA data shows that during the past 3 years acres devoted to wheat production continue declining in both South Dakota and North Dakota (USDA, 2018). South Dakota wheat acres experienced a remarkable decrease of 31.5% during the past 3 years, compared with a relatively mild drop of 16.4% by North Dakota.

A wheat field at sunset.

Water Use by Plant Stage

Over the growing season, solar radiation, air temperature and plant size are the dominant factors in determining evaporative demand and the rate of water use by wheat. Water use can vary dramatically on a day-to day basis, depending on climate and wheat health.

Winter wheat emerging from a planted field.

Double-Crop after Wheat?

Two crops in one year may sound tempting, and for some crop species is possible, but before doing so, producers should consider possible crops and compare the potential benefits with the drawbacks.

small group of cattle grazing on cover crops

Cover Crops & Livestock Integration: A Profit Opportunity for S.D. Farms

Cover crops have been gaining a reemerging acceptance over the last decade, with very few producers disagreeing about the potential soil health benefits of adding cover crops to their farming operation.

bottom part of a corn plant in soil with half of the roots exposed to show the seed trench (side-wall) compaction.

Planting Into Wet Soils

It is evident that there are high chances of planting into wet soils this spring. This is not a good decision when normal soil conditions appear to be attainable, but this year we may not have a choice.

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.

Be on the Lookout for Black Grass Bugs

It’s time to begin scouting pasture and wheat for the presence of black grass bugs. Last year, we saw the highest populations in areas of Central and Southwestern South Dakota. If left untreated, black grass bug populations tend to increase year after year.

a flooded wheat field with some emerging wheat plants.

Wet Feet in Wheat

Given the widespread wet conditions present this spring, there are many areas in winter wheat fields with both ponding and saturated (or waterlogged) soils. Producers may want to consider soil conditions and evaluate extended weather forecasts when deciding whether or not to retain a winter wheat this spring.

A map of South Dakota with yellow and green circles indicating iverson risks at various locations throughout the state.

Use the SD Spray Tool for Inversion Detection and Weather for Pesticide Application

The SD Mesonet Spray Tool provides real-time weather data for pesticide applicators. This dedicated website for pesticide applicators uses the SD Mesonet weather data, which is updated every five minutes.