2021 US Corn Belt Crop Tour


South Dakota

2021 Summary of the State of South Dakota

Day 6: July 9, 2021

10th Annual US Corn Belt Crop Tour Summary of the State of South Dakota

The 2021 10th Annual U.S. Corn Belt Crop tour in the state of South Dakota started on day 6, July 9th, 2021. We travelled east from Rapid City, south on Highway 83 through Winner and Gregory, north past Mitchell up to Ipswich before heading to Bismarck, North Dakota. On July 12th, we travelled from Sioux Falls, SD to Salem for a producer meeting with Blindert Insurance. The morning of July 9th was foggy, damp, and cloudy with a high of 23 Celsius. July 12th was partly cloudy and a high of 24 Celsius.

You have all seen the headlines on how dry it’s been in SD or in the Northern Plains. We were expecting burned up crops and instead we got better than expected from the road BUT….. you need to talk to local farmers to get the real story. Thank you to Lee Lubbers from XtremeAg and his brother Terry in Gregory, SD for spending some valuable time with us and providing their insights. If we had travelled through SD on July 5th, it would have been a totally different story with crops stressing but they got 0.50 – 1.75 inches of moisture that provided relief and stabilized the crops for now. But the soil moisture tank is empty!

Most farmers completed planting by mid-May but 50+% have decided not to side dress due to a lack of moisture. More timely rains are needed but the top end of yields have been lost, as much as 15-20%, on excessive heat & if the “Heat Dome” returns losses of 50+% are expected from the local farmers. On July 12th in Salem, SD corn was stressing like pineapples in 84-degree weather. When comparing to 2020 we have fewer abandoned fields & PP (prevent plant) acres but still a lot of water holes & drowned out areas.

Thank you to Craig & Glenda Blindert for inviting Moe Agostino to speak on July 12, 2021 in Salem, SD at the Special Appreciation Day with Blindert Insurance. Full house, great food, and lots of great information for farmers! For exceptional service/insurance rates call (605) 425-3140.

90-Day Precipitation Departure from Normal

State of South Dakota 90 Day precipitation map

State of South Dakota Drought Classification Maps

The record corn yield in South Dakota was in 2020 at 162 as “rain made grain” while soybeans hit a record in 2016 at 49.5 vs. 2020 at 45.5 bpa. Farmers planted 33.3% more corn acres (+24% in 2020), 11.7% more soybeans (+49% in 2020), winter wheat +33%, spring wheat -4%. Crops are stressing from excessive heat and dry conditions, but there is no disease pressure. Top (82% very short-short and only 18% adequate) and subsoil moisture (83% very short-short and only 17% adequate) are both well below normal. As of July 12th, corn crop conditions are rated 31% good-excellent and 24% poor to very poor, while soybeans are 28% good-excellent and poor to very poor. The state needs more timely rains to get through pollination & the month of August to gain kernel weight & yield. The early stress heat/dry weather has done its damage & is being masked by recent rains. We will only know the damage at harvest when combine rolls but there is a production hiccup coming in South Dakota as the state represents 6.2% of total corn and soybean in the U.S. in 2021. Production in corn and soybeans could fall by as much as 194 – 486 million and 50-125 million bushels respectively.

From the road, the crops look better then we expected but recent rains have masked all earlier problems (not adding to yield) with too much heat, dry weather/frost taking its toll early on. Rating the state, a 4 out of 10 with below average yields.

State of South Dakota Image Collage

Thank You to our proud prize sponsors Azotic North America and Empire Weather.

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About South Dakota
Number of farms
1,459 acres
Average size of a South Dakota farm
43,200,000 acres
Land in South Dakota farms
Share of farms and ranches family owned and operated; more than 2,500 farms and ranches have been in the same family for more than 100 years
South Dakota’s US rank in sunflower seed and oil production
Heads of cattle produced by approximately 17,000 ranchers and cattlemen; South Dakota has more cattle than people!
5,600,000 acres
Corn acres intended in 2021, +13% vs. 2020

162 bu/acre
Corn yield in 2020, +18.0 bu/acre vs. 2019
5,700,000 acres
Soybean acres intended in 2021, +15% vs. 2020

45.5 bu/acre
Soybean yield in 2020, +3.0 bu/acre vs. 2019
1,510,000 acres
Wheat acres intended in 2021, +8% vs. 2020

51.9 bu/acre 
Wheat yield in 2021, +3.9 bu/acre vs. 2020


2021 US Corn Belt Tour
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