Spring planting progress of corn in 2020 has been much ahead of a typical year in South Dakota. Crop development, however, seems slow.
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Fallow syndrome received its name from the dry plains states, where fields routinely benefited from the additional moisture available after a year where the ground was fallowed. Corn sometimes had symptoms of phosphorus deficiency when grown on this previously fallowed ground, thus it received its current name, “fallow syndrome.”
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.
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.
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.
Incorporating cover crops into our cropping systems and moving from conventional tillage to no-till can improve soil organic matter, soil structure, and water and nutrient holding capacity of our soils.
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Interest in cover crops has increased in recent times. Cereal rye has been a cover crop of choice among corn and soybean growers in South Dakota due to its superior tolerance to cold temperatures and ability to overwinter in a Northern climate.
The recently released 2017 Census of Agriculture data shows that South Dakota has experienced a considerable increase in acreage harvested of two major crops, corn and soybeans over the past decade.
Wet conditions have forced the need to change planting plans. In some cases, crops are planted in areas that were not planned for that crop this year. One factor in moving crops that cannot be overlooked is carryover. Does the ground to be planted have a carryover restriction for the desired crop to be planted?