Not by Fire but by Ice


Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us


Farmers cannot harvest some areas in SD
because it is so wet


13 Oct 09 – Email from a reader (I added the headlines)

Hey Robert,

I wanted to share part of a phone conversation I had with my grandmother yesterday, she turned 84.  She said they had snow that morning.  She lives in South Dakota, the North Mideastern region.  Now it's not unusual for it to snow in South Dakota; however, growing up as a boy it was quite rare that it ever snowed before Halloween.  Actually, I recall only one year (roughly thirty years ago) in which it did blizzard the day of Halloween.  I think it was those mid 70's when we would get so much snow we could dig caves. 

Of course, after the 80's the snow fall was always paltry in comparison to when I was just a kid.  I mean we had snow cliffs high enough (10-15 feet) that we could sled down them (these were complete "snow" cliffs, there are no hills in eastern SD, it's very flat).  I always wondered why it didn't snow that much anymore. 

"In all my birthdays, it has never snowed." 

I believe your research on Sunspots highlights what has happened.  Now of course, what I find striking is my grandmothers response to that snowfall yesterday, "in all my birthdays, it has never snowed." 

Farmers cannot harvest some areas because it is so wet.

This could be rather alarming.  It's one thing to have freezing weather throughout the winter; it's another to add on top of it a lot of snowfall.  I speculate because that area has received a lot of rainfall this year, so much that the local farmers cannot harvest some areas because it is so wet.  The big machines just sink in and get stuck in the fields; not to mention the muddy roads that pose a problem for the grain trucks. 

A lot of snow doesn't help the spring seeding either.

The farmers aren't sure what they are going to do yet, so the corn and soybeans set there ready to harvest.  If they continue to get moisture throughout the winter season as they have this past year, you can bet the snow is going to pile up good.  A lot of snow doesn't help the spring seeding either.  You'll end up planting later which would push the harvest back further (then you possibly face situations like now).

Most people probably pay little attention to this part of the agricultural business, but farming is where we get our food and there are a lot more people today than thirty or eighty years ago which might very well present a food scarcity issue.

Dan Unser






Order Book I Q & A I Book Reviews I Plant Hardiness Zone Maps I Radio Interviews I Table of Contents I Excerpts I Author Photo I Pacemaker of the Ice Ages I Extent of Previous Glaciation I Crane Buried in Antarctic Ice Sheet I Ice Ages and Magnetic Reversals I It's Ocean Warming I E-Mail Robert at l Expanding Glaciers