Mitchell farmer confident that good planting conditions will soon return

May 13, 2024

Bruce Haines has patience. The Mitchell farmer keeps Mother's Day in mind for the same reasons many of his fellow Americans keep it in mind, but also as an informal point on the calendar at which he’d like to have planting behind him. It wasn’t to be. As of Friday, May 10th, it had been two weeks since Haines had made any planting progress, but he managed to hide his disappointment.

“We’ve been blessed with much-needed moisture, but it’s certainly slowed down our ability to be out in the fields,” commented Haines during an interview with the South Dakota Soybean Network. “We’re anxious in the next few days to be able to get back into the fields. The temperature’s come up, we’ve had wind and sun. We’ve had a few days without measurable precipitation. The soil temps are just in the 50-degree range. Mother Nature’s kind of slowed us down a little bit, but that’s ok.”

Having scouted some of his farm ground that’s already been worked, Haines observed that the corn he planted more than two weeks ago has done little to come out of the ground but is otherwise none the worse off. Just the same, Haines, named to the South Dakota Soybean Checkoff board a few months ago, would be grateful for warmer weather.

“Oh, absolutely, yeah,” he interjected. “We’ve had many, many, many cloudy days, overcast, afternoon showers; perfect weather for growing wheat, growing grass for cattle to graze on. [The] alfalfa looks fantastic. The lawns and the trees and everything really needed this. We’ve been probably praying to come out of a drought that’s been pretty active for the last four years for us, so this is a wonderful change from that.”

Frequent small showers have allowed for soil moisture recharge. That replenishing, according to Haines, has been essential. At this point in the planting season, even though he’s behind his 2023 pace, there is still time to take a breath, catch up, and compare his current situation to the previous season.

“Last year in the month of April, we had one inch or less of moisture,” recalled Haines, about the 2023 drought, “and this year [during that same period] we’ve had in excess of six inches of moisture and so I don’t know where the water’s all going but it’s soaking in.”

It’s still early. And like many farmers, Haines, who is to be featured on an upcoming edition of the Soybean POD, is confident that good planting conditions are right around the corner.

“A few drying days and a little wind,” he ventured, “we’ll be right back at it.”