Kloucek needs moisture after deep planting

June 13, 2023

Except for the northern tier of counties, South Dakota’s drought monitor released on June 8th shows soybean growing areas range from abnormally dry to severe drought in southeastern counties. The heavy snow cover disappeared earlier in the spring than Scotland, South Dakota farmer Jeff Kloucek expected. Kloucek, the current South Dakota Soybean Corteva Young Leader, says planters in his area began rolling by May 1st, and a modest rain on Mother’s Day weekend was all farmers had until he and I talked last Friday.

“With the high temperatures and low humidity we’ve had, this corn has really been wrapping up and rolling and just going very defensive for eight hours every day,” said Kloucek, when asked about the condition of his crop. “It’s really impressive that it’s actually still getting bigger every day.”

Kloucek planted deep in search of residual moisture – two to three inches on corn and a couple of inches on soybeans, which he says are growing surprisingly well. “Some of the later planted [soybeans], we still have some seeds laying in dry soil here and there in some isolated areas, but overall they’re looking pretty good; they’re not really using a lot of water right now and they can handle a lot more than what we ever give them credit for.” At this point in the growing season, Kloucek’s only concern for his soybeans is an apparent uneven stand. “Some of the deeper planted stuff just took a little longer to come up and that rain that we got, some of the seeds were already in moisture when we planted, and others were laying there. The rain made everything come up, it was just not as even as we would like to see.”

Kloucek – who does crop consulting in addition to farming – got nine-tenths of an inch of rain Friday, June 9th, but was just as interested in what weather stations reported close to his place. “Seven or eight miles west of me it really dropped off hard, they got a tenth [of an inch] maybe two [tenths], and then if you go just a few miles to the east of me, there are some over there that were showing an inch-and-a-half or more,” he said, in an interview with the South Dakota Soybean Network. “Anything we could get right now is just a blessing because it was needed.”

Although corn is Kloucek’s immediate concern regarding precipitation, he can put off his worries about soybeans until later in the summer. “They’re not using a lot of water right now, but it sure would be nice to keep some timely rains on [soybeans], to keep them branching out and growing a little faster so we can shade this ground and conserve what moisture we do have,” said Kloucek, “and then as far as all-out yield is concerned, I don’t ever doubt a soybean until we see what July and August bring us.”