SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Weeks of rainfall in the Dakotas have been slowing this year's corn and soybean harvests, as farmers are being forced to wait for their muddy fields to dry out.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest crop reports show that South Dakota farmers have harvested 75 percent of their soybean fields, while the harvest was 54 percent complete in North Dakota. Last year at this time, soybean crops in both states were fully harvested.
Scott Gauslow, who farms 2,500 acres of corn and soybeans about 25 miles south of Fargo, N.D., said he hasn't been able to get into his muddy fields for about two weeks. Gauslow, chairman of the North Dakota Soybean Council, said farmers are dealing with equipment getting stuck in fields.
"It's just been continuous rain," Gauslow said. "It's not conducive to harvest."
Last week's precipitation left about 2.4 days of fieldwork in North Dakota and 2.5 days in South Dakota, according to the reports.
The corn harvest also is lagging behind last year's pace and the five-year average. The harvest was 31 percent complete in South Dakota, while North Dakota's corn harvest has reached 14 percent. In North Dakota, much of the state experienced a hard frost on Oct. 15, and temperatures for the week averaged 2 to 6 degrees below normal.
Gauslow said it was 35 degrees and overcast in Richland County on Tuesday morning, and he was hoping to get into his fields after the morning frost lifted.
However, the rainfall has been good for the soil. Topsoil moisture supplies in North Dakota are rated 2 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 28 percent surplus, and subsoil moisture supplies are rated 3 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus, according to the USDA.
In South Dakota, topsoil moisture supplies are rated 6 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus, and subsoil moisture supplies are rated 1 percent very short, 17 percent short, 78 percent adequate and percent 4 surplus.