Tornadoes, hail slam eastern S.D.

Farm Forum

Multiple tornadoes and a line of severe thunderstorms ripped through eastern South Dakota on June 21, destroying several homes and knocking out power in several counties.

Some of the worst damage was reported in Codington, Clark, Hand and Hamlin counties, the latter of which lost all power and reported several destroyed homes from the tornadoes, according to The Associated Press.

Southern Spink County was hit by the storms, but most of northeastern South Dakota was relatively unscathed, said meteorologist Ken Gillespie of the National Weather Service in Aberdeen.

No injuries were reported to any other sheriff’s offices in northeastern South Dakota.

Two tornadoes touched down in southern Spink County. About 1:20 p.m., a tornado touched down between Redfield and Tulare, Larry Tebben, emergency manager of Spink County said. A second tornado was spotted near Glendale Colony about 2 p.m., according to the weather service.

Winds in excess of 60 mph, along with golf ball-size hail, damaged several buildings and structures in Spink County, Hillside Colony and other surrounding townships, according to the weather service.

Peak wind speeds in Aberdeen and Selby exceeded 50 mph, although they were not related to a severe thunderstorm, Gillespie said.

Mark Rosenberg, SDSU Extension Agronomy in the Aberdeen Regional Center, took photos of the crop damage done in the Hitchcock-Tulare area.

“We hope that the fields can come back from the damage,” Rosenberg said, “It generally takes 5 to 7 days to get an assessment. Some of the plants are beyond their regrowth potential. The best thing for producers to do is to get hold of their crop insurance agents and let them do their thing. They know the rules and regulation and the right process. I think some of those corn acres will be replanted, some were hit pretty hard. There may be some beans go in those areas.”

With beans, damage is a different story. Corn has one singular growth point while beans have multiple growth points. Sometimes if there is enough damage, then the plant can’t regrow properly and there may be weak stalks later, Rosenberg said.

The main factor will be time. Damage may affect the yield drop of those surviving plants. With some sunny, warm weather a week’s time will determine how much the plants will recover.

Some severe damage was also reported in northern Hand County and in North Dakota around Linton and Wyndmere.

Mark also said in Hitchcock, there was some pretty heavy property damage to vehicles and property.

The cooler weather this spring also has some farmers concerned about yellowing and striping of corn leaves. It’s a sign of stress and also may indicate that there are some sulfur issues in those area. The plants may recover with normal growing conditions, but farmers may want to consider adding additional sulfur which could be absorbed into the roots. It may be more of an issue this year, as there may not be enough root to absorb the sulfur.

Wet conditions also have farmers concerned about trying to get crops sprayed for weeds in a timely manner. The critical stage of corn to apply weed control is when corn acres 3 to 7 weeks old.