Feature Story

Sara Bauder
SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist
SDSU Extension
South Dakota

Bauder, S.1, , David Karki2, , Anthony Bly3,
1 SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist, SDSU Extension, Tyndall, SD, 57066
2 SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist, SDSU Extension, Watertown, SD, 57201
3 SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist, SDSU Extension, Sioux Falls, SD, 57106

South Dakota faced an extremely challenging farming year in 2019. According to the USDA-NRCS 2019 ‘South Dakota Cropping Systems Inventory’, unprecedented precipitation and flooding across much of the state resulted in nearly 4 million acres that could not be planted; this consisted of 1/5 of the country’s total unplanted cropping acres due to weather in 2019. This left many producers searching for ways to raise forage for livestock and/or keep their soils covered to control weeds and erosion for the remainder of the growing season. Cover crops quickly rose to be of great interest, however this came with an entire suite of questions and challenges. This article entitled “Cover Crops 2019: What to Plant When” was written to assist producers in making decisions about cover crops and provided basic resources to get the decision making process started. We released the article in early July when many fields were beginning to look passible and producer questions were starting to flow in. The article was published on our SDSU Extension website which engaged more than 277,000 new users last year. It was also released as a news release, which helped spread the information in print across the state. In addition, the article was released in our weekly Pest & Crop Newsletter in early July which is distributed to 2,700 recipients each week during the growing season. Furthermore, information from the article was discussed on our SDSU Extension radio program, which plays five days a week on ten stations, covering every acre in South Dakota. Sara Bauder, Anthony Bly, and David Karki wrote this article collectively and intend to build a formal extension publication from this information for the 2020 cropping season.