Spoiling food … trucks

Another round of extreme heat this week has a couple of food trucks in Sioux Falls putting business on hold.

With temperatures in the high 90s and even a 100 degree day in this week’s forecast, Curbside Diamond Food Truck and Looks Market Food Truck are toying with the idea of shutting down until the heat passes.

Beau Vondra, with Looks Market, said a combination of high traffic at the Looks Market store and the high temperature compelled the company to pull the plug on the food truck for a few days.

"It’s just not worth it to risk the health of our employees," he said.

Faren Earring, owner of Curbside Diamond, wasn’t sure if his truck would be making it’s rounds Wednesday, saying his team would play it by ear.

"But if it’s as hot as they say, we won’t be running," he said.

A few sprinkles but no soaker, yet.

Another week gone by without much moisture, a few little sprinkles in the area here and there but no real soaking rain yet. Moisture conditions for Soybeans and Sunflowers are critical at this point. The corn continues to mature and the yield of grain has long been determined, so it will be interesting to see what the actual yields are in these fields around the county when the combines start moving next month.

Some fields are greener than others, so depending on pollination and maturing of the ears the yields will be expected to vary throughout the area. Sometimes just a little shower of rain at the most critical time of plant growth and pollination will effect the yields from one area to another.

The pasture conditions are continuing to deteriorate and there is a continued threat of fires due to the very dry plant material that is still on the ground in some fields and pastures. The pastures have had no rain for any re-growth after grazing or haying. We are going to wean our calves earlier than normal to conserve grass and to allow our cows to support themselves rather than for their calves, too.

The winter wheat planting is right around the corner, too, and there is a huge need for moisture for the winter wheat seedbeds to insure proper germination and getting the 2013 winter wheat crop started properly. This area is way behind on moisture as is many areas of the state, and the possibility of rain at the end of this week looks promising for central South Dakota. We will just have to wait and see.

- Submitted Monday, Aug. 20 by Bob Yackley, Onida area Farmer and Rancher

Still dry near Pierre

Since my last post on the drought conditions in this area, the first week of August, we have not seen conditions change very much, except to get drier. After walking several corn fields looking for good pollination and the possibility of a corn harvest, we decided to salvage some of our acres of corn for feed, and we cut silage this past week. it really wasn’t much good, very poor pollination and very little yield potential for grain.

We didn’t receive the rain that some areas from Huron east or northern to northeast South Dakota reported as getting. We are glad they received some relief in certain areas. The temperatures in this area stayed up in the early part of the week,  but it cooled off on Friday and Saturday - sure made packing silage a bit more enjoyable.

We hire a traveling crew to come by and cut silage for us. There was not much yellow corn in the silage as would be expected with poor pollination and low grain yield potential. The fields ranged from some being greener with a few to no ears to burned up brown with no ears, however, it should make feed for livestock.

The other fall crops like Sunflowers and Soybeans would be helped by some rainfall in our area, but those crops too, are at a critical stage for yield, we feel that the yield has already been hurt on these two crops, but to what extent is not known at this point in time.

We are still waiting for that soaker rain here, as before long the wheat drills will be readied for planting of winter wheat; and without good soil moisture the stands of wheat could be compromised.

Pastures and hay supply has already been determined for the summer. The pastures and hay crop was not good, but moisture would green-up the pastures and help with fall grazing.

Our 90th annual Sully County Fair was held this past weekend in Onida, and it tried to rain a little on Saturday, but only scattered showers in the area. The county fair time has produced some timely rains in the past, but not this year.

There is plenty of optimism in this community as we have seen droughts before and know that the good Lord will provide for all of us as he sees fit.

-Submitted by Bob Yackley, Onida, S.D. (central area of S.D., 35 miles northeast of Pierre) farmer and rancher.

Just enough or not enough

We farm in northwest Iowa and what rain we have gotten this year has been very hit and miss with some fields dying out while other fields have had just enough rain to hang on. We were fortunate enough to get a good rain at the end of June but saw no rain in July and, like everywhere else, lots of heat all summer. Fields in the area are also starting to be cut for silage with some completely dried up, but other fields only have to lose the edges, high spots, sandy spots and other areas where the rain didn’t come or dried too fast.

The corn fields around here have all grown full height and put out ears, in most areas though there just wasn’t anything to fill the kernels out, and that’s where the fields have dried themselves out trying to fill out in this heat. The corn that has remained definitely has signs of stress, nearly every field has burned up at least a few leaves and some plants are putting out tassel ears just to grow something. The beans have been able to hang in there but they aren’t doing much either. There are more flowers now and some pods are in place with the recent rains, but are hardly filled with anything. The lack of rain all July has allowed spider mites to take hold and wipe out some fields a bit further south of us.

Everything in our area has depended on luck with our hit-and-miss showers. Some areas will be fortunate enough to have a harvest but across the fence there may be nothing. If we can keep our recent rains coming things may work out and hang in there, but everything that’s left is just barely hanging on.

-Submitted by Dan Gehlsen, a corn and soybean farmer in northwest Iowa.

Chill Out Already

Summers in Kansas are relentlessly hot. So when the opportunity to move back home to South Dakota came earlier this year, as summer was fast approaching, I didn’t hesitate for a single moment. Of course, other factors contributed to my desire to move north, but another three solid months of upper 90s and 100 degree temperatures was anything but appealing.

I think I brought the scorching heat with me. The summer started fine with seemingly normal temperatures and the usual early June thunderstorms here in South Dakota. But as June passed, so did the moderate weather.

So, a second straight summer of constantly battling heat has me thinking about what I’ve missed out on, and how the extreme weather has impacted my usual summer routine.

I love to ride my motorcycle. But I don’t like riding when it’s a gazillion degrees. Some might think that when flying down the highway at 70 miles per hour, the wind would provide some relief from the heat. But, from my perspective (FULL DISCLAIMER: I ain’t no scientist), the faster I ride, the hotter it is. I don’t know if it’s the fact that when moving down the road the rider hits more air molecules or what. Because the wind provides ZERO relief, I’ve not done much riding, putting on maybe 1,000 miles since April.   

My target shooting has also taken a backseat to air conditioning. I could go to an indoor shooting range like the one at Gary’s Gun Shop, but that gets expensive fast. I typically go shooting with friends on some private land south of Dell Rapids where my only expense is the ammunition. Due to the excessive heat, only a few times have I mustered up the motivation to brave the elements and pop off a few rounds. I sure hope that the million-to-one chance I ever have to use my weapon for defense doesn’t come this summer, as my ability to hit a target has probably waned.

Enough is enough. Chill out already, Mother Nature!  

-Submitted by Argus Leader Digital Reporter Joe Sneve

Better for some, worse for others

The U.S. Drought Monitor released information today indicating drought conditions are improving in South Dakota overall, but worsening in others.

The reports shows crop conditions are improving in northeastern counties in South Dakota because of recent rainfall but counties closer to Sioux Falls, like Minnehaha, Lincoln and Union, are experiencing further degradation.

You can view the drought monitor site here.

Are conditions where you are getting any better? Send us your thoughts, photos and videos, to Drought@ArgusLeader.com, and we’ll post them.

From Onida

As in much of the area of South Dakota, “dry and hot” best describes the conditions in central part of the state in the area northeast of Pierre on the east side of the Missouri River. We have had some “scattered” rain showers in the area, but the crops here have relied upon “hit and miss” showers all summer. This area has not gotten an old fashioned “2-3 day soaker” all growing season. There is no question that this area has been negatively impacted by the dryer conditions than normal, which was only accented by the extreme July heat.

 The hay and pasture crop yields in this area were considerably lower than normal so the short hay forage supply and pastures limited stocking rates are putting pressure on area livestock producers to provide ample feed for their winter feeding needs.

 Due to the drought, there are some fields of corn already being cut for silage in the immediate Pierre area along with some windrowing of corn fields to be baled for winter forage. We have not started to cut silage on our farm yet, however, we are weighing options to salvage forage for cattle at this time.

 Much of the dry land corn condition ranges from “short, dry and  brown looking” to some taller greener areas in some fields. This next week’s weather will likely be a big deciding factor if there will be much of a corn grain harvest in this area. With all other factors in place, rain water is so critical along with the heat and humidity to determine potential yields. There is no doubt that yields have been drastically affected with very little moisture and high heat during growing and pollination periods of most of the fields of corn in our area.

 Our operation does not have any irrigated crops, so I cannot comment firsthand about the conditions of irrigated row crops, but the extreme heat and lack of rain water, coupled with high energy demands for pumping water to the crops has likely been a challenge to area irrigation farmers as well.

 This area of the state uses mostly a non-tillage practice for raising non-irrigated (dry land) crops, a method where farmers try to leave as much crop residue from the previous crops as possible on the surface of the soil as a mulch cover to help preserve moisture along with other benefits. However, with dryer than normal conditions this year in our area we simply lacked ample rains, and had too much extreme heat to grow a normal yielding corn crop.  However, the lack of moisture and extreme heat is critical for Soybeans and Sunflowers as well.

 I would encourage anyone in this area and other areas to email to drought@argusleader.com  anything that pertains to the drought conditions in your area of South Dakota and the Midwest where you might be reading this.

-Submitted by Bob Yackley of Onida, SD. a member of a family farming and ranching partnership with headquarters in Onida, S.D., northeast of Pierre. The Yackley operation raises corn, soybeans, sunflowers, winter and spring wheat along with a commercial cow-calf operation and operates a cattle embryo collection business. 

From Wall

My sons and I farm and ranch 12 miles southwest of Wall.  We are cow and calf producers and have a background lot.  We have taken yearlings off the pasture and put in the lot.  Cows are walking through pastures very quickly.  Our winter wheat averaged 50 to 70 bushels.  Our spring wheat wasn’t even good enough to cut for hay. Our hay production is practically zero. For example, we normally would have had about 100 loads of big round bales. We’ve gotten two loads. 

We cut our corn and round baled it, had it tested for nitrates and the results came back safe.  The safflower is hanging on so far.  Never have I seen supply of feed so short in my 40 years of operation.   We’ll need ALL CRP (conservation reserve program) open for haying.

-Submitted by Myron Williams of Wall, S.D.  

Dry, hot conditions impact life for all of us. Whether it’s farmers wondering if crops will get enough rain, ranchers worrying about overheated animals or kids looking for entrainment during summer break that doesn’t involve swimming, every one of us has to take weather conditions into consideration when making plans, short term and long.
But the impacts varies from person to person and place to place. We’re asking you to let us and our readers know what the dry, hot summer of 2012 has meant for you.
Send posts, photographs and videos pertaining to the heat and drought, along with a description of who and where you are by emailing Drought@ArgusLeader.com.

Dry, hot conditions impact life for all of us. Whether it’s farmers wondering if crops will get enough rain, ranchers worrying about overheated animals or kids looking for entrainment during summer break that doesn’t involve swimming, every one of us has to take weather conditions into consideration when making plans, short term and long.

But the impacts varies from person to person and place to place. We’re asking you to let us and our readers know what the dry, hot summer of 2012 has meant for you.

Send posts, photographs and videos pertaining to the heat and drought, along with a description of who and where you are by emailing Drought@ArgusLeader.com.

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