Northeastern South Dakota farmer is a believer in scouting


Northeastern South Dakota farmer is a believer in scouting

A farmer in northeastern South Dakota has about as many prevent plant acres as last year, but there’s a big difference in the way the crop is progressing through this growing season. Heather Beaner’s corn and soybeans last year were yellow from too much rain. They are much better this year.

“Those potholes are drying up nicely, we’ve had a normal rain schedule this year,” Beaner told Brownfield Ag News from her farm in Spink County, South Dakota. “We’re actually probably a little bit behind, but we haven’t been getting the big three-and-four-inch gulley washers that we got last year; this year the crops look great, the corn and the beans.”

Beaner, who was prevented from planting about 15 percent of her intended acres both this year and last year, says weather at this point in the growing season is close to ideal.

“We are in a stretch of mid-80-degree days, light breeze, mostly sunny, and it’s just beautiful July weather,” said Beaner. “You can see everything growing; you come out in the morning and the pumpkin vines have grown another two feet overnight. It’s unreal.”

Beaner, whose farm is near the town of Mellette, South Dakota, tells Brownfield she keeps a close eye on how her corn and soybean crops are progressing.

“Driving by on the road and looking from the pickup isn’t going to do it,” she said. “You need to get your boots wet, you need to touch the plants, you need to walk out, get past the headland, get out into the bulk of the field. Get your exercise.”

Beaner says she’s had no big surprises this season – her reference for problems that will hurt yield – but she says that producers need to be out in their fields to make sure those problems are not there.

“You’ve got to look under the leaves, you’ve got to pull the canopy back, you’ve got to see what the dirt is doing,” said Beaner, a director on the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. “That’s how you spot the white mold, it’s how you spot the aphids, it’s how you spot the interesting creepy-crawlies and weeds that are coming up.”

AUDIO: Heather Beaner