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.
Crop insurance late plant dates are fast approaching for planting small grains in South Dakota. Late plant dates for corn, soybean, and sunflower are nearing as well. Producers will want to work with their crop insurance agent to explore planting options and reporting of prevent plant areas.
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.
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.
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.
As a challenging 2019 row crop planting season wraps up in South Dakota, many producers are looking to plant cover crops on unplanted acres. One popular cool-season grass cover crop is oats. Most oats in South Dakota are grown as certified varieties, and it is important to be aware of the legal ramifications behind purchasing oat seed for use as a cover crop.