Cash rents and land values/hay prices

Farm Forum

At the SDSU Regional Extension Center in Winner, we get a wide variety of ag related questions and I either answer them, consult someone who can or pass the caller on to them. A couple of the most common questions we get at the SDSU Extension Center in Winner deal with land rental rates and hay prices.

I am very willing to talk to callers and office visitors on land rental rates, but quite honestly, I’m going to quote the values from two surveys that are conducted annually. One of those is conducted by the SD Ag Statistics Service, and the report can be found online. To access it, visit the SD Ag Statistics website:, under “South Dakota Publications”, choose “Cash Rents and Land Values” and click “Go”. The second is the “2014 SDSU South Dakota Farm Real Estate Survey”: The numbers in the two reports don’t completely agree, which is to be expected since the surveys were conducted differently, but you’ll have something to go on.

Another common question deals with hay prices, for which I turn to the USDA Ag Marketing Service: and quote from reports found there. To access them yourself, visit the website, click “Market News” > “Livestock, Meats, Poultry, Eggs, Grain and Hay” and then “Hay”, you will find a list of reports to choose from. Likely the most comprehensive of resources is the “National Hay, Feed & Seed Weekly Summary”: Reports are broken out by state and/or region and commodity.

Testing for soybean cyst nematode

Reports of good soybean yields have been common in south-central South Dakota this year. This seems to be a good time to remind producers about the testing program for soybean cyst nematode (SCN) that is available at no charge through support from the SD Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

SCN was first detected in South Dakota in Union County in 1995. As of 2012, the pest was confirmed to be in 28 counties, as far west as McPherson County in the north, Charles Mix and Davison Counties in the south and Beadle County in the east-central part of the state.

The SCN testing program serves several purposes. First and foremost, the program confirms that the pest exists in a field and area so producers can implement management strategies to minimize yield loss. The testing program can also determine population levels, which affect the management strategies that need to be employed. It has been found to be easier to keep SCN population densities at low or medium levels than to bring high densities down.

Testing for SCN is encouraged for areas where the pest has not been confirmed, as it may already be present, and early detection allows for more effective management programs. SCN can be present in soybean fields and causing yield loss without showing obvious symptoms. Sampling for SCN can be done any time of the year, and to make the program more accessible to soybean farmers, SCN testing bags have been provided to area County Extension Offices in addition to the Regional Extension Centers. For more information, contact your Regional Extension Center.