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Color-coded drought monitor map of South Dakota. As of May 20, Northwest South Dakota is facing extreme drought, while the rest of the state is under abnormally dry to severe drought conditions. A Small portion of the northeast has adequate moisture.

Drought

Stay ahead of drought impacts with SDSU Extension's timely climate updates, business insights and research-tested management tips.

an image of outdoor weather monitoring equipment in a field

Climate and Weather

View resources to predict, prepare and recover from weather-related events year-round, including the latest drought and flood information.

Three, four-wheel drive John Deere tractors, pushing up chopped corn silage into a drive over pile on a dairy farm.

Harvesting Silage on a Wet Year: Moisture is Critical

Fall is on its way in South Dakota. However, with many flooded and saturated fields, some producers are growing concerned that there will be little opportunity to harvest silage before corn dries down past desired moisture levels or frost occurs.

bare field in spring waiting to be planted

Planting Considerations for a Late Spring

Farm fields in some areas are unusually wet this year with many low areas under water. These conditions will make planting a challenge for farmers this year.

A corn field in South Dakota looking very wet due to flooding from spring rains and melted snow.

Delayed Planting Challenges: Cover Crop Considerations

High waters and saturated soils across many counties in South Dakota have producers worried about getting their crops planted in a timely manner this spring. In many areas, typical cash crops will not be a possibility. Producers may need to develop alternative plans.

A grass forage blend grows in a central SD field as Red cattle graze.

Delayed Planting Challenges: Alternative Forages

With the excessively wet planting conditions much of South Dakota is now experiencing, many producers are looking for “Plan B” to meet forage needs for their livestock, or as a commodity that can be marketed to livestock producers.

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 green combine that has caught fire in the field.

Avoiding Field Fires During Fall Harvest

With dry and drought conditions in the late summer and fall, crops dry down rapidly and harvest starts early. The climate outlook may be favorable for an uninterrupted run at harvest. However, the risk of fires during harvest is always a concern for farmers.

Color-coded map of the United States showing Precipitation outlook for October to December 2021. Odds are leaning towards drier than average conditions for most of South Dakota in the coming three months.

2021 Fall and Early Winter Climate Outlook

The latest monthly and seasonal climate outlooks were released Sept. 16, 2021 by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. Forecasters are pointing towards a warmer than average October, with odds leaning towards drier conditions for the last few months of the year.

Vast winter prairie on the Rosebud Reservation.

Climate Resilience Toolkit for the Northern Plains Region

In September 2021, the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit announced the publication of a new Northern Great Plains Region section. The new section can help producers recognize climate hazards, assess vulnerabilities and confront risks.