Crop weather report South Dakota

Farm Forum

The month of January was mostly below normal for temperatures with an average snow depth at the end of the month of 2.0 inches across the state. As the winter season progresses, producers continue coping with drought reduced feed supplies and stock water supplies, although these have improved from December somewhat. Livestock were doing well in most areas of the state. County road conditions in the state were rated at 99 percent open and 1 percent difficult. Township road conditions were rated at 95 percent open and 5 percent difficult. Major activities last month included moving snow, caring for livestock, moving hay to winter storage, hauling grain and repairing equipment.

This report was based on information from regional extension educators, Farm Service Agency county directors, and other reporters across the state.

Weather information

January conditions across the state produced fewer larger precipitation events but several cold outbreaks, according to the State Climate Office of South Dakota. Despite the colder temperature outbreaks later in the month, the state was mostly warmer than average for the month with only a few stations in the southwest below average. The rest of the state was near average to 3 F above average. Average temperatures were in the upper teens north to upper 20’s south. The high for the month was 61 F at Sturgis. The coldest temperature was -14 F at Clear Lake and Webster. Most northeast parts of the state fell to double digits below 0o F because of the combination of cold and decent snow cover. Most southern areas (without snow) warmed better with most of those locations reaching the 50’s to lower 60’s.

All locations received precipitation, though generally less than 0.25 inches. Areas from southwest to central parts of the state received heavier amounts of precipitation. The same areas were the only locations above average for the month. Hot Springs had the most at 0.68 inches. Bison had the least precipitation at 0.05 inches. Snow cover was heaviest in the northern and eastern parts of the state. Southern areas had light or no snow cover.

Soil condition

Soil temperatures were mostly in the 20’s. Beresford and Parkston were the warmest at 30 F; South Shore was the coolest at 17 F.

Field crops report

Some producers have been concerned about the lack of snow cover protection for the winter wheat. Winter wheat condition was rated at 16 percent very poor, 50 percent poor, 31 percent fair, and 3 percent good. Snow cover for winter wheat was rated at 84 percent poor with the remaining 16 percent adequate. Alfalfa snow cover was rated at 62 percent poor and 38 percent adequate.

Livestock, pasture, and range report

Feed supplies were rated at 19 percent very short, 29 percent short and 52 percent adequate to surplus, while last year at this time feed supplies were rated at 99 percent adequate to surplus. Stock water supplies were rated at 32 percent very short, 31 percent short, 37 percent adequate. Cattle conditions were rated at 70 percent good to excellent, 28 percent fair and 2 percent poor. Cattle deaths rated at 26 percent below average and 74 percent average for the month. Newborn calf deaths rated 19 percent below average and 81 percent average. Sheep conditions were rated at 78 percent good to excellent condition, 21 percent fair and 1 percent poor, with sheep and lamb deaths from fall crop rated 10 percent below average and 90 percent average.

North Dakota

Mostly above normal temperatures were recorded in January while snowfall amounts varied across the state, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, North Dakota Field Office. High winds with little snow cover resulted in soil erosion in some areas. Some cattle producers are concerned about forage supplies as calving approaches. County and secondary roads on January 27 were rated as 94 percent open, 5 difficult, and 1 closed. Road conditions were 16 percent drifted, 15 icy and 69 dry. Agricultural activities during January included feeding and selling of livestock, hauling grain and purchasing seed.

Statewide, average snow depth was 4.1 inches on January 27, compared with 1.8 inches on January 29, 2012.


As of January 27, snow cover protection for alfalfa was rated 34 percent poor, 50 adequate and 16 excellent. Snow cover protection for winter wheat was rated 28 percent poor, 44 adequate and 28 excellent.


Cattle conditions were rated 2 percent poor, 12 fair, 70 good and 16 excellent. Sheep conditions were rated 1 percent poor, 14 fair, 72 good and 13 excellent. Hay and forage supplies were rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 80 adequate and 8 surplus.


Overall, temperatures for January were above normal across much of the state with near normal temperatures in parts of the north central. Precipitation was above normal across parts of the far northwest and northeast and below normal across much of the rest of the state. There were no major widespread snowfall events across the state during January, but mainly frequent light snow events with snow accumulations generally less than one inch in any single event.

A somewhat more widespread light snow occurred on January 11 and 12. Snow accumulations ranged from 2 to 7 inches with this storm system in the northern and eastern parts of the state with the higher amounts in the far northeast.

Outlook, February

February will start out with below normal temperatures in the east and above normal temperatures in the west. Precipitation for the first week of the month will be near normal. Near to below normal temperatures will be likely for the second week of the month with near to above normal precipitation. Temperatures for the second half of the month should be below normal with above normal precipitation. Overall for the month of February, the state will see below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.