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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.

Group of adults and children playing doubleball game in a field

Dakota & Lakota Traditional Games Resource

Play these games to promote the development of physical endurance, coordination, dexterity, quickness and strength.

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.

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.

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.

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 planting of alfalfa.

Effects of Late Spring Frost on Alfalfa

Forage research indicates that, although alfalfa is considered to have good cold temperature tolerance, minor frost damage may occur when plants are exposed to air temperatures slightly below freezing for several hours, and more severe damage will be seen when temperatures drop below 25°F for four or more hours.

SDSU Extension Winter Wheat Variety trials. One plot is showing more yellowing and stress than other plots.

Low Temperature Effects on Winter Wheat

Low temperatures during the early morning hours of May 9–11, 2020 may have had detrimental effects on winter wheat in some areas of South Dakota. However, cooler spring temperatures that have slowed the winter wheat development this year may have actually been beneficial to S.D. producers, as later-maturing wheat is not as susceptible to injury from freezing temperatures.

a map showing the precipitation outlook for June 2020

Summer 2020 Climate & Drought Outlook

August 26, 2020

With alternating cool and warm weather patterns throughout the last few months and the summer season ahead, temperature continues to be a challenge for climate forecasters in South Dakota.