Rain Putting Damper on Harvesting Season For Farmers

SALEM, S.D.- Harvest season is approaching for farmers in the Sioux Empire, but recent rainfall is forcing some farmers to have delays in collecting their crops.

September is usually the time of year when Kurt Stiefvater starts to get ready to harvest his corn and soybeans, but the heavy rain over the weekend is slowing him down by a few days.

“Saturday night, Sunday was probably our biggest rainfall,” says Farmer Kurt Stiefvater.

Kurt says although this summer’s drought made growing his crops harder. This is the time of year when they expect less rain.

“To be able to store them they need to be in drier moisture content. We like a drier fall usually,” says Stiefvater.

Right now, he’s waiting for those dry conditions so he can start harvesting. Kurt says he’s looking forward to clearer skies this week.

“It hasn’t delayed us much at all right now, but if the rain would keep accumulating then we would probably have some harvest issues,” says Stiefvater.

In the meantime, he reflects on past seasons that were much worse than this.

“Numerous years to where we have had too much rainfall, and never had crops even planted, or a hard harvest trying to get them out,” says Stiefvater. “You fight the mud and crops, where we had to dry them extra,”

Kurt says he’s going to start harvesting his soybeans in the next few days, as he waits for his corn to mature.

“I’ll start harvesting before the next rainfall. Sometimes we start and stop a lot of times just because of rainfall during the season,” says Stiefvater.

Being a farmer for 30 years now, Kurt says you eventually learn to adjust to the South Dakota weather.

“Every year is different; we just play with what Mother Nature deals us and we deal with it at the time,” says Stiefvater.

Stiefvater is also a rain tracker for the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He says some parts of the state saw up to 6 inches of rain over the last few days, which will make harvesting more difficult for some farmers.

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