SDSU Extension to Provide Drought Resources, Water and Forage Testing at Dakotafest

Brookings, S.D. – South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension invites crop and livestock producers to its new booth location, #216, at the 2021 Dakotafest in Mitchell, South Dakota. SDSU Extension experts will be on hand to discuss drought management resources and tools, as well as offering testing services for nitrates in forage and electro-conductivity (EC) in water for water suitability. The event is slated for Aug. 17–19.

Producers are encouraged to bring water and forage samples to the Extension booth, as each day the beef team will provide free EC water testing to determine total salts in water, as well as free Nitrate QuikTests for Forages.

For forages, take a representative sample and cut all forage plants just above ground level. The test requires the bottom node of the plant. Water can be collected in any container (water bottles, pop bottles, peanut butter jars, canning jars, etc.), however containers need to be clean. Samples do not need to be on ice.

In addition, water quality testing meters, courtesy of SDSU Extension and the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Cattle Feeders Council, will be distributed. A limited number of water meters are available, so interested individuals should make sure to visit the booth early in the day.

Other Extension events and topics to be featured at this year’s Dakotafest are:

Ag Economics Dialogue — Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist, and Matt Diersen, Professor and SDSU Extension Risk/Business Management Specialist, will host the August session live from the booth on Thursday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. CDT. Their presentation is titled “Crop and Cattle Market Overview” and will examine feed management considerations.

Drainage Water Management — John McMaine, Assistant Professor and SDSU Extension Water Management Engineer, and students will showcase a controlled drainage tabletop model along with information packets on the new nutrient loss calculator web application.

Silage Packing Density Demonstration — Sara Bauder, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist.

2021 Drought in Perspective: Current Conditions and Forecasts — Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist.

Utilizing Weather-Stressed Corn in Swine Diets — Bob Thaler, Distinguished Professor and SDSU Extension Swine Specialist.

Reading for Resilience — Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension Early Childhood Field Specialist, will have available the series of nine children’s books and guides to support children’s coping and understanding of their feelings after experiencing a disaster, loss and/or grief.

South Dakota Certified Seed representatives and SDSU Extension entomologists will be available daily to answer questions, along with Extension’s soil fertility specialist and plant pathologist on Thursday.

At 2 p.m. CDT each day, a SDSU ice cream social will be held, along with daily drawings for an SDSU resource book (choice of “Trees! An Illustrated Field Guide,” “Grassland Plants of South Dakota and Northern Great Plains” or “Plants of the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains”).

During Thursday’s drawing, Extension staff will also draw for an overall grand prize drawing — a SDSU Wool Inaugural Stadium Blanket. The blanket is part of the SDSU Signature Wool Project, developed by a joint effort of the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association; SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the SDSU College of Education and Human Sciences; with assistance from the Center of the Nation Wool, Inc. and Faribault Woolen Mills, Inc. Net proceeds from the project are used to provide scholarship support to students in animal science and apparel merchandising. All scarves, stadium throws and blankets from the project are made of 100% South Dakota grown wool and have been processed to be cold water machine washable.

For drought resources and information, please visit the SDSU Extension Drought page (

–SDSU Extension

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