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Finally, some days for spring planting as corn goes in the ground

Producers are finally getting into the fields this week, as temperatures have been about 10 to 15 degrees above normal with some rainfall.

Ethan farmer Lewis Bainbridge said his sons were just starting with the corn planting late Monday morning.

"They aren't cussing or swearing so it must be going pretty good," Bainbridge said.

Usually they like to get going on the corn about April 20-22, so they are behind but "it's not worrisome," he said.

The longtime producer said they expected to start with the soybeans, possibly as early as Tuesday and that's not far behind schedule at all.

However, the family operation usually plants oats and peas as forage for their cattle and they normally try to start that planting in March.

They just started on that Saturday so "we are significantly" behind on that, he said.

Eric Gerlach, a state statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, said about the corn planting, "it's too late to be early."

However, he said 20 years ago a late start to corn planting like this could have been a problem.

With technological advances and the new equipment, however, most producers can catch up in a hurry, he said.

In his latest report released late Monday afternoon, the state statistics showed just 6 percent of South Dakota corn has been planted compared to 28 percent last year at this time. The five-year average is 33 percent.

As for soybeans, the Monday report said 1 percent were planted, compared to 5 percent at this time last year. The five-year average is 7 percent.

Oats planted were at 47 percent in the latest report, with spring wheat at 51 percent, well behind last year when 93 percent of both crops were planted with 68 to 74 percent of the plants emerged.

The report, which will be released on Mondays now through the growing season, said 5.3 days were suitable for fieldwork in the past week.

Helping were the above normal temps and sunshine, said meteorologist Brad Adams with the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls. He said the highs were 10 to 15 degrees above average in Mitchell with highs of 78 on Friday, 84 on Saturday and 78 on Sunday.

Adams said the showers will be on and off this week. He said a half inch was possible in the Mitchell area on Tuesday and into the early morning hours of Wednesday..

There was about a 30 percent chance of rain on Thursday afternoon with that increasing to a 60 to 70 percent chance of rain overnight into Friday.

"It's pretty normal to have a string of dry days, and then a string of days with showers this time of year," Adams said.

Bainbridge said he would welcome the showers even though they are in the middle of planting.

"Any time it rains in South Dakota, we'll take it. When it sometimes forgets, that's when we have our problems," he said.

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