South Dakota farmers have numerous allies when it comes to improving productivity and yield. Their retail agronomist, financial advisor, and grain hauler all play important roles in farmer success. Researchers and Extension experts are also in their corner, continuously searching for ways to increase yield and keep expenses down.
South Dakota farms, at least those in Chad Schooley’s neighborhood around Castlewood, South Dakota, have received anywhere from just a few inches of summer rain to 20 inches. Schooley lost some corn to wind a few weeks ago, “not a lot, probably two to three percent,” he said. The Hamlin County farmer’s soybeans look relatively good, saved by late season rain.
Everything was looking just fine for most soybean producers in South Dakota during the spring 2021 planting season. Bean markets were strong, riding a wave of optimism. A relatively mild, low-moisture winter and early spring made it easy to get into the fields.
The question posed in the title is one that market participants utter each year around this time. The answer to that question is usually only known several weeks or even months later when more of the marketing year has unfolded and crop size is determined. As of this writing, December corn had set at least a short-term top at $6.38 per bushel on May 7 while November soybeans put in a high of $14.61 on May 12. Seasonal tendencies can be helpful when used as a guide during times of heightened volatility like 2021 has shown itself to be.
In the wettest year on record for South Dakota, half the cropland in the state that was planted used a cropping system without tillage. That system, no-till farming, has been the predominant cropping system on South Dakota cropland in recent years, but this is the first year the practice was used to plant 50% of the state’s crops.
Although we all wish there was a snap-your-fingers fix for our saturated field conditions, everyone in agriculture will need to go into the year 2020 with eyes wide open to the realities of our wet weather cycle. Some strategic planning in the off-season can help prepare you for how to best approach the coming spring field conditions.