South Dakota Climate & Drought Summary Back »

Figure 1. U.S. Drought Monitor: South Dakota - August 1, 2017
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

U.S. Drought Monitor

As of August 3, 2017, just over 82% of South Dakota is in drought. The area of drought has hovered around 80 percent for the last few weeks. The South and Southeast have gradually worsened recently, due to both dryness and heat. Since the last summary, new Extreme drought areas were introduced in West Central and South Central Regions. Drought conditions have eased in the North Central and East along US-14.

14-day Summary

Beneficial rains fell in a few areas over the last two weeks that have eased drought conditions. In the East, an area from Aurora and Jerauld county to Brookings county received four to six inches or more of rainfall. The North Central Region reported two to four inches of rain in many areas as well.

After the extreme heat of 10 days ago, where temperatures soared around 100 degrees, the state is now much cooler. Overall for the last two weeks, the West was generally 2 to 5 degrees above average and the East was near average to slightly warmer than usual.


Pastures, stock ponds and haylands continued to degrade in the high heat and dry conditions. Ranchers are hauling in water to supplement dry water sources in pastures. Cattle sales continue at area sale barns, but appear to have eased slightly in the last week or two.

An increase in the number of sick or dead livestock due to nitrate poisoning has been reported. Many SDSU Extension offices and regional centers have information on quick nitrate testing for feed and water testing for total dissolved solids. Some offices can do feed and water testing on site; it is encouraged they call ahead to inquire about these services.

Recent cooler temperatures and rainfall have improved crop conditions in corn and soybeans. There were some reports of heat and drought stress in July that possibly impacted tasseling, but yield impacts will not be known for a while. Soybeans are flowering and will need good moisture during this critical stage.

Drought Declarations
Three more counties in South Dakota have made drought declarations this week: Mellette, Tripp and Todd counties.

Figure 2.
Cattle in pasture in Tripp county, July 2017. Courtesy: V. Stuart


An active weather week is ahead, as storms are possible over the weekend and around Tuesday of next week. Total rainfall for the next seven days will be lighter in the North and heavier in the South. Less than an inch in the North, one to two inches in the South are possible. Temperatures will remain cooler than average for the next one to two weeks over the Central U.S.

Figure 3. 7-day total rainfall forecast. Courtesy: Weather Prediction Center

Drought Meeting

The next drought meeting will be held at the Wall Community Center, 501 Main St., on Wednesday, August 23 at 6-9 pm. Topics will include: livestock and feeding, agronomy, climate, economics, range management, and USDA FSA drought programs. There are no other drought meetings planned at this time.

Download Summary (PDF)

Past Summaries

Download past summaries by clicking on the date.


July | 13

June | 16, 22, 29

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