Filed under: Corn, Farm, garden, harvest, Minnesota, rain, seasons, Soybeans, summer, weather | Tags: Corn, farm, garden, harvest, Minnesota, peppers, plants, pumpkins, rain, Soybeans, summer, tomatoes, weather
It’s August 24 and harvest is approaching faster than we would like. I’ve been at several farmer seed dealer meetings lately and all are saying we’ll be harvesting our corn before soybeans this year. So, let’s take a look at what’s happening in the field here in Southwestern Minnesota.
Many corn fields began the turn from green to tan this week. There are still green leaves on most of the corn which is good for the health of the plant, but the husks on the ear are drying and loosening up. This is needed for drying of the kernels of corn and is good to see.
If you take a corn stalk and cut it vertically you can see that the stalk is starting to shut down. There are definite signs that the stalk is taking stored energy from the stalk and putting it in the ear in a last attempt to get the maximum amount of weight in each kernel.
Corn is a plant that needs a certain amount of heat, once it has had that heat, it shuts down. In warm years like we have this year you then get an early harvest. Two years ago we had a cold year, and corn harvest was late.
If you break an ear of corn you will see that the kernels are deep an healthy. Most ears have 18 rows of kernels but there are a few 16 and 20 row cobs out there. Most corn has not yet reached “black layer,” a point where the kernel shuts off the connection to the cob, but is still in the “dough” stage, where the inside of a kernel is moist but not watery. These deep kernels suggest a good test weight which puts more corn in the bin or silo and means more feed value in each kernel.
We will see a bit of a yield reduction here, but how much is hard to tell. Timing of rain showers and hot dry winds, how much water the corn was able to access out of the soil and farming practices of many types will all have an effect on the final outcome.
Some soybean fields have just started to get a bit of yellow in them. Soybeans are photo sensitive plants and will grow until the day length tells them that fall is coming. We rarely see harvest here before the first week in October. When leaves start to turn on a soybean plant you usually have about 4 weeks before harvest, depending on how wet or dry the weather is. You can see that the beans on the right will be ready before the beans on the left. (p.s. this is not my field!)
Our soybeans have a long way to go before the crop is set. Most pods are still a bit flat and some rain may still help fill out the pods on the greenest plants. There is nothing new here, this is where we expect our soybeans to be at this time of year. Soybeans are always hard to guess on yield until you get to harvest. I’d say yield will be down, but not much.
Our tomato plants are just starting to ramp up production. We’ve had a few tomatoes in the past weeks, but the plants are loaded with green fruit. Soon we’ll be looking for volunteers to take some tomatoes off of our hands.
We’ve also dug the first potatoes and carrots and the late radishes are done. Some trees are starting to drop their leaves and plant growth is slowing. Fall is coming and cooler temperatures are here, what a wonderful time of year.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, food, harvest, Minnesota, rain, Soybeans, summer, weather | Tags: Corn, corn soybeans, farm, Food, harvest, Minnesota, rain, Soybeans, summer, weather
We had another tenth of an inch of rain in the gauge this morning, the forecast is for cooler than normal temperatures for a few days and fall is approaching, what does all of this mean for area crops?
Our area of Minnesota was blessed with early rains, and then next to nothing for most of the summer. We did get a few spotty showers like this mornings tenth of an inch, but it was never enough to help much. Somehow, in spite of the hot temperatures, blast furnace winds, and lack of rain, we have a decent crop out in the field. Yes, yields will be lower than we would like, but prices are much higher than we could have hoped for.
As of now, I would say that the corn harvest yields are set. With corn denting, there will not be much more weight set in each kernel of corn. Soybeans are a different matter. They are still blooming and setting pods. Rain and cooler weather are just what they want to salvage something out of this summer. I still do not expect anything like a normal yield out of the soybeans, but prospects are improving.
The rains are also helping those who have animals on pasture. Many grasses in our area are cool season grasses and will benefit from rain and cooler temperatures. Likewise alfalfa fields will get a bit of a boost, but alfalfa needs deep water so I do not see much of a boost there.
Prospects are still good. Our area will harvest a crop. With the demand for food and feed grains higher than expected prices will remain high for a while. A better than average harvest of wheat, barley and rice could temper demand for corn. Likewise, better harvests in the southern hemisphere would lower corn and soybean prices here. Will prices go higher? Maybe, but the best cure for high prices is always high prices. We will see increased production of all food stuffs around the world with these higher prices, and we need it.
Those farmers who have not yet priced this years crop have an opportunity to lock in some nice prices for their production. The higher prices will also help those who take out revenue insurance on their crops to lock in higher prices for next years crops. Livestock producers do not have the same options, but they did have the opportunity to lock in a much lower price for their feed needs earlier this year, and may again if southern hemisphere crops look good.
Prices on the farm are in transition. For too many years prices have remained low as farmers were able to produce much more than the consumer demanded. We have had the fat years, now it looks like we will have some lean years. Consumers have become used to buying cheap grains, it looks as if that may be at an end for now.
Find the frog(s)
The wildlife visiting my pond is different every day. We get way more birds than I did when I tried feeders, plus we attract a few other critters. Right now I have a vole that is making the pond edge his home. I wouldn’t mind just staying there, but he has decided that the flowers need to be harvested. They are barely done blooming and he snips some of them off. Since we are short adult cats right now he has free range. Oh well, he’s just part of the wildlife in my yard. For now I’ll have to live with him.
Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, Soybeans, Wildlife | Tags: aphids, farm, field soybean, insect damage, lacewing, lady bugs, Minnesota, scouting soybeans, Soybeans, spider mites, weather, Weed control, wildlife
I’ve been out scouting soybeans for some time now, but today was the first day that I took my camera. I’ve been out looking for weed escapes, insect damage and yield potential. So here’s what I’m finding in our Minnesota soybean fields.
This is from our last planted field of soybeans. There are not as many pods here as I’m used to seeing, but there is still potential as there are flowers and smaller pods at the top of each plant. These are seed beans that are planted in 30 inch rows.
We’ve got a lady bug on this leaf. This is a good bug. The problem is that when you see good bugs, there are lots of bad bugs. This leaf has both aphids and spider mites on it. Most of the insects will be on the stem or the bottom of the leaf. To find them on the top of the leaf usually mean there are a lot of them.
Here’s some soybeans that were planted in 15 inch rows. They were planted earlier than my other beans and seem to be doing better. Although the plants are shorter, there are more pods on them. The tighter row spacing allows the plant to canopy sooner and help hold moisture. That should mean that we will harvest more soybeans from this field.
Soybean flowers are very small and usually self pollinating. They grow at the top of the plant and keep putting pods on at each new node as the plant grows. you can have large fat pods at the bottom of the plant and new flowers at the top. This helps the plant add seeds when ever the conditions are right.
Soybeans are rarely all the same height. This patch is showing some moisture stress. You can also find shorter beans when there is lots of insect pressure, a wet spot or compacted soil. Soybeans tend to grow taller if there is competition from other plants also.
So there you have it, that is what I’ve been finding in my soybean field.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, genetic modification, GMO, harvest, Minnesota, rain, weather, Wildlife | Tags: Corn, drought, farm, Genetically Modified, GMO, harvest, Minnesota, rain, weather, wildlife
I’ve been spending time out in the field checking on crop conditions. Despite the dry conditions in our area of Minnesota the crop looks really good. If we had not had the heavy rains this spring, and a few well timed rains this summer, I’m sure it would have looked a lot worse.
This is pretty typical of what I see. Every stalk has an ear on it, and they all seem to be well filled out. Some are even starting to tip down, which means that they are nearing maturity. The stalks are mostly green top to bottom, but areas that had more stress are showing some dead leaves on the bottom.
If you peal the husks back you see that the ears are well filled out and most kernels are dented. Some are filled to the tip while others are missing some kernels at the end. This is potential that could have been corn.
Sometimes you will find an ear that insects, raccoons, mice or deer have damaged the ears. This photo is mouse damage. These instances are rare, but there. In a good year this would not be a problem. It seems that in a dry year you have more of these problems.
Raccoons and deer can destroy large areas of corn if they are thick enough. Mice and insects usually settle for a few kernels on the end of the ear, their damage is hidden, but substantial.
Even the moisture stressed plants in sandy areas will try to produce corn, and some will succeed. We do not have many areas like this, but most field have them. The amount of grain loss will depend on how large the area is.
So how big will our crop be? I really could not tell you. I do know that with out modern crop technology we would be looking at a lot less yield. The ability to get by on little water that is part of the newer genetically modified crops is really making a difference between having a crop and not having one. We’ll see what is out there when the combines roll.
I can tell you that we will have one of the earlier harvest in our history. Maturity has been hastened by all of the heat we have had this growing season.
Filed under: garden, Minnesota, pond, water garden | Tags: broad leaf arrowhead, garden, Minnesota, plants, pond, water garden, water hyacinth, water lettuce
My pond has been overrun by floaters this year and something has to be done.
I took half a wheel borrow full of floaters to the compost pile earlier this week and the floaters filled the cleared spot up the next day. All of this green is from 10 small plants purchased in early June.
The floaters in my pond are water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and water hyacinth (Eichhoria crassipes). They are just leaves and roots. So far neither of these plants have bloomed for me.
The roots on the water lettuce are about 8 inches long on mature plants. The plants send out side shoots with smaller plants on them. As the plant gets bigger, it also sends out more babies. They continue to grow as long as they can reach water.
Water hyacinth are much like the water lettuce in that they are just green plant and roots, and they send out shoots to produce more plants. The hyacinth have bladders to help keep them afloat. In southern states they are considered invasive. Some places in Africa and Asia they will heap hyacinth together to make floating islands where people will live. Here in Minnesota both plants will freeze off as winter nears. Then I just net them up and add them to the compost pile.
If you look at the bottom of the picture you can see the newest addition to the pond, sagittaria latifolia. Sagittaria latifolia is a plant found in shallow wetlands and is sometimes known as broadleaf arrowhead, duck potato, Indian potato, or wapato. This plant produces edible tubers that were extensively used by the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, farm animals, food, garden, Minnesota, rain, Soybeans, weather | Tags: alfalfa, Corn, drought, farm, Food, garden, harvest, Minnesota, rain, Soybeans, tomatoes, weather
Our little corner of Minnesota got 1.1 inches of rain for the whole month when our crops are needing an inch a week. The National Weather Service has placed us in a Severe Drought, yet the crops look good. Tonight we are again getting a few drops of rain, just a teaser, how much more dry weather can we take.
We’ve been eating some very good sweet corn lately, well filled out ears, good depth. I will admit to setting the soaker hose in the patch one day, but one day only. We usually use sweet corn yield to show how the field corn is doing. The tomatoes are yielding well, and the peppers have good production on them as well. Is this really a significant drought? The answer is yet to be determined.
Despite the good looking crops in the field I expect there to be some yield loss. Our fields here will do better than some, but worse than others. After two good cuttings of alfalfa, the third cutting was hardly worth the effort to harvest it. That shows how the early rains helped early production, but have not been sufficient for the moisture needs of this last month. There will be less grain harvested than our country needs for exports, and some domestic users will have to find alternative feed stocks.
Those hurt most in the livestock sector will most likely be the cattle feeders who depend on the rains not for corn, but for forage crops like grass, alfalfa and clover. Some corn will be chopped to help extend the needs, but the best feed stocks may not be in the right place for the livestock that depends on it. Cattle will go to slaughter and beef prices, at least on the farm, will be cheaper before they go higher.
Those who need feed grains the most, poultry and pork producers, will be able to buy feed, but at a highly inflated price. Some chickens and turkeys will not be hatched until farmers can get a high enough price to pay for the higher priced feed. Grains are easier to transport, so they will still move from areas of relative abundance to areas of need if the price is right.
Yes, these little showers of rain are good, just not enough to give our usual amounts of production. Until the combines roll and we have some harvested acres we will just not know how good, or how bad.