Filed under: Corn, Fall, Farm, frost, harvest, Minnesota, Soybeans | Tags: Corn, farm, harvest, Minnesota, Soybeans, weather
The frost of last week Saturday changed the picture in our farm fields here in southwestern Minnesota. Soybeans that had some green or yellow leaves lost them all in a few days, so Monday we turned our attention to the soybean harvest.
The weather has not been good for an even drying of our fields so our soybeans had been looking a bit splotchy. Areas of dry soybeans were mixed in with beans that still had green leaves on them. The average of the fields was for low moisture soybeans, but averages are not what you are looking for in seed stock. To the seed buyer, looks as well as genetics are important, thus no soybeans that are destined for the seed market can be harvested until the whole field is mature, so we waited.
By Monday all of the soybeans looked ready so we made the switch. Yes, our soybeans were dry, most were about 10% moisture when we want to see a 15% moisture. The yield was very good for the small amount of rain we had, not excellent, but good enough. The dust was flying and we spent many hours a day getting our beans either in to town, or into the bin while we could. Now our bean harvest is over and we are back in corn.
It seems that news of the close to normal soybean harvest has reached the Chicago Mercantile Exchange where the prices are set for our crops. The soybean price has been tumbling. I did sell some of our soybeans, but ever the optimist, I have quite a few left to sell. Harvest is not the normal time to sell your crop. Everyone knows you have a crop to sell, and they all hope you will take less money for it eventually. We’ll see if we can get a price bump later.
This is so different than the doom and gloom that the drought brought on. It is a testament to the varieties of crops we buy now. I’m sure we would not have had as much to harvest with so little water only a few years ago. My combine monitor showed a high yield in the upper 60 bushels per acre several times, but the fields were only averaging from the upper 30′s to the lower 40′s. What a year!
So it is back to corn. What a difference a week can make. Moisture in the corn has dropped from 18% to 12%. I don’t mind the 18% moisture, I can get the water out of the corn by blowing air into the bin, but 12% is a bit low. It means we are selling less water within the corn kernels than we would like. Oh well, we’ll live with it. Now back to harvest.
Filed under: family, Farm, frost, garden, planting, spring, Trees, weather | Tags: children, Easter, farm, garden, leaf lettuce, plant potatoes, Planting, potato, potatoes, spring
Well, I’ve done it, I finally started planting my garden. Usually you are fairly safe to start planting the more hardy plants by Easter. Many a person sets Good Friday as the day to plant potatoes. With this years good weather I could have had a lot more planted, but stayed away as long as I could. The exception, some potatoes.
About a month ago I looked at the sprouting left overs from last years garden and decided to try something crazy. I dug out these old pots and put those sprouted potatoes in. The plan is to keep adding soil as they grow. I’m hoping for some early potatoes. I figured I could move the pots inside when cold weather threatened and not have to worry, so far, no worry.
I had purchased some new asperges plants and some seed potatoes and decided to put them into the ground. My garden had been getting hard, so last fall I went through it with a deep tillage disk that I use in the fields. Now this spring I can tell that it helped. I took the tiller through the garden to get the early sprouting weeds, dug out some quack grass and dandelions and got planting. While I was at it I planted radishes, carrots, leaf lettuce, spinach and peas. These are all plants that can take being a little cold.
It doesn’t look like much now, but give it a few warm days and we’ll have some fresh veggies poking up.
The weather forecast is not hopeful for the plants that are already leafed out. Monday and Tuesday low temperatures are forecast to be well below freezing. That will push off my date for the start of corn planting. It is not only the corn that I have some concerns about. If the weather is cold enough the new blooms in the yard are in danger.
Our lilacs are just beginning to open.
The flowering crab is only days from blooming. The strong winds out of the north these last few days have not kept them from trying to bloom.
We can cover the tulips to protect them, but the trees are not going to be so lucky.
Talking about trees, my grandfather said you should wait until the ash and oak leaves were as big as a squirrels ear. We don’t even have much for buds on the ash, although they are showing their flowers.
I’m not worried about the ash trees, they will make it through quite a cold snap, but many other plants will not. I’m not sure how much cold the climbing rose will take at this time, I guess I’ll find out.
One plant I am hoping to see freeze off are these dandelions.
The blooms are staying close to the ground, so perhaps they know that the cold is not yet over.
So here’s hoping your Easter garden is frost free and full of color.
Filed under: frost, Minnesota, Trees, winter | Tags: farm, fog, frost, frost on trees, Minnesota, southwestern minnesota, trees, winter, winter magic
Our area of Southwestern Minnesota has turned magical after three days of fog. This morning the sun came out and added some sparkle to the trees.
The tiny spears of frost were everywhere, even on a few rocks.
The frost was perhaps most striking when it was on the green of pine boughs.
Some branches held a lot of frost, others held only a little.
Soon the wind and sunlight will remove the frost from the trees and we will go back to our monochrome winter world. For now we have a bit of magic in the trees. Hope you enjoyed this bit of winter magic.
Filed under: cold, Farm, frost, Ice, Minnesota, rain, snow, tillage, weather, wind, winter | Tags: cold, Corn, farm, freeze, frozen ground, Minnesota, rain, snow, weather
The weather here in Southwestern Minnesota is turning cold. Not like you folks below the Mason-Dixon line call cold, I mean COLD. This morning the thermometer on my car said 16 degrees when I drove into town for the bus route. The radio station was reporting 12 degrees. We’ve only begun. It will get colder.
The wind has really made matters worse. I’m sitting here listening to the wind trying to make its way into the office door as it whistles and whines with the changing wind speed. The wind is being sucked out of the house. For a person who heats with wood, that means more trips to the wood pile.
So far we’ve avoided the snow that has fallen on other regions of the country, regions less known for cold and snow. I usually don’t expect much for snow until December, but we have had piles of snow earlier than this. When it comes in October or November it usually stays and that makes for a long winter. I prefer the years that we are still looking for snow on Christmas.
With the cold we can expect freeze up of lakes rivers and ponds. There have been skins of ice on the pond several times in the last weeks, but total freeze up is not usual until the first week in December. We do have some warmer days forecast for the coming days, so I don’t expect the ice to stay. Nights however are seeming to stay below freezing more often than not from now on.
There has been considerable speculation on if the ground will freeze solid this year. With the Lamberton Experiment station reporting the lowest soil moisture levels since the 1930′s we are dry here. They are finding no significant moisture in the first 20 inches of the soil profile. So the question remains, will the ground freeze.
My bet is, that with no water, the ground cannot freeze. Yes, the soil will get cold, but with no water it cannot freeze solid as it usually does around here. In fact, I’m expecting the loose soil to act like a blanket and protect the sol from freezing for a while. This will have great implications for any moisture that falls this winter.
In years that the snow falls before freeze up the snow will actually slowly melt under the snow all winter long. This allows for snow water to be removed to lower levels of the soil profile and decreases flood chances. In years where wet soil freezes solid before the snow comes, snow melt will actually run off over the surface of the soil. This runoff can come all at once in the spring and increase flood chances in the spring. I have never seen a year like this where we have dry soil at freeze up.
This year farm fields in our area were worked dry. We have large chunks of soil sticking up in the fields. I am expecting the wind and snow to work on these exposed chunks and break them down this winter. The soil will still be rough in the spring, but winter does seem to knock the tops off of any higher areas in the fields.
I am also expecting any snow melt to flow into those broken areas of the field and stay on the field. Even iff the lower areas of the soil profile do freeze, the dry upper areas will act like a sponge and soak up the first snow melt that we get. That, of coarse, is if we get snow.
We are still in a drought here. A very uncommon event for Minnesota. In my lifetime I do not remember such a long dry period. If the drought continues, we could go through this winter with little if any snow.
In our area it is not uncommon to have only a little precipitation for most of the winter. Most of our snow tends to fall at the beginning and the end of winter. Yes, some years it does seem to snow every day, but I’m remembering those many years where area snowmobilers had to trailer their sleds to find snow. Years of low snowfall amounts are more prevalent in my mind than those with heavy snow all winter.
So, winter is coming. We know we’ll have cold, but how much snow and how much water will we get this winter. Only time will tell.
Filed under: cold, Fall, Farm, frost, Minnesota, pond, seasons, Trees | Tags: autumn, falling leaves, farm, frost, leaves, Minnesota, pond, trees, wind
With all of the cold we’ve had lately most trees have been shedding their leaves quite quickly. The lack of rain has meant that the leaves have remained dry and light in weight. Some trees, like the catalpa shed their leaves mostly in one day, its large leaves dropping like rain as the frost went out one morning. Many leaves in our area blew off in the wind and made piles in sheltered areas, or blew into the water. A few leaves are still hanging in there. Here’s a few pictures for you.
Only a few leaves remain on this maple. The leaves have been turning from red and gold to brown as they wave goodbye to fall.
While most of the leaves are gone from our trees, this maple has hung on to its leaves. Oak also are waiting to shed their summer glory as their now brown leaves cling to the branches. Locust have compound leaves, and so may shed a leaflet or two before the whole leaf drops.
The pond has been a leaf magnet. Leaves hit the water and stop. I have scooped wheel barrows of leaves out and still the water is brown with leaves. It’s a wonder that the fish can swim in it sometimes. The leaves dam up our little creek and cause the water to run places I do not want it to go.
As the temperatures cool we will lose more of the leaves, a little at a time, as each leaf lets go of its summer hang out and drifts to the ground. It has really been a colorful autumn here in Southwestern Minnesota. Perhaps one of the most colorful I have ever seen. Just 44 more days to winter.
Filed under: Farm, frost, harvest, Minnesota, Soybeans, weather | Tags: early freeze, farm, frost, frost damage, Minnesota, Soybeans, weather
The frost of a week ago seems to have done more damage to the soybeans than I originally thought. If the plants were green the top leaves were killed. Any leaves left on the plants are showing some damage from the frost.
The greenest soybeans took the hardest hit. It will be interesting to see how this impacts yield.
If it had been a hard freeze you would smell the silage like odor from the stems being frozen and starting to rot, so I think the damage should have been only to the leaves. This means that the stem will still work to fill the pods.
Our driest beans still have some green in their pods, but few leaves.
When you pop open the pods you can see that the beans of even our most mature beans are a bit green. It will take some time yet before the fields are ready for harvest.
Looking across the fields you cans see areas of greener beans. The frost should hasten the drying of the whole field. It will still take some time before we can begin soybean harvest, but harvest has been hastened by the frost.
Filed under: birds, Farm, frost, Minnesota, rain, snow, spring, weather, Wildlife, wind | Tags: cold, farm, geese, Minnesota, rain, snow, spring, weather, wildlife, wind
With the cold of the last few days the ducks and geese have paused their northward migration to take advantage of flooded fields in our area. Although the rivers are open, many lakes are still ice covered so going further north is not going to work too well. Gleaning spilled grain from farm fields will help them get some energy to complete their flight.
Our local geese have claimed their nesting spots, although there is still ice around them in the ponds and lakes, and rivers are at forcing the geese further away from normal riverbanks. Two days ago when the winds were so gusty out of the north some of the geese were having a tough time holding their spots on the ice as they were pushed down wind.
All rivers are well out of their banks, although the cold has allowed for a slowdown in the surge. Some were predicting historically high water levels, but the lack of frost in farm fields this year means that most water is sinking in rather than running off. A few bridges have reappeared, but that could change when the warm weather returns. Mother Nature is still in control.
Filed under: cats, cold, family, Farm, frost, Ice, Minnesota, seasons, snow, weather, wind, winter | Tags: cold, farm, ice, Minnesota, snow, Thanksgiving, water, weather, wind
This mornings temperature was 9 degrees. Baby it’s could out there. My morning bus trip got me thinking about how the cold affects water ponds of different sizes and types.
As an example my small (200 gallon) fish pond was frozen over, with ice thick enough to hold a cat on sunday, with only 30 degree temps. The cat was looking for a drink and found the ice in the way. I got out my pond heater and we now have an open water pond again.
Many of the ponds and small lakes were showing ice on their edges on Sunday. Until we had the cold this morning it did not take too large a body of water to resist the freeze. Last night the temperatures went down and a cold north wind blew all of the smaller bodies of water to ice covered by morning.
The river has been interesting lately. There have been some areas of ice on the edge that formed in the last few days. Today small icebergs had broken loose and were floating down the river. In places. where a river bend or bridge could capture those ice chunks, the whole river had been covered with ice. A few more days like this and we’ll have ice on all of our water bodies.
This is shaping up to be an early freeze up. The ground is getting a good depth of frozen earth now. I don’t have my snow fence in yet, but it looks like I had better get those posts pounded in soon or not at all.
A cold Thanksgiving is forecast. We still have some ice covered roads and the weather tomorrow will not help. We could get more ice and snow wednesday. Be careful as you travel for thanksgiving.
Filed under: cold, Fall, Farm, frost, Minnesota, Soybeans, weather | Tags: cold, farm, frost, harvest, Minnesota, Soybeans, weather
Some areas of Minnesota picked up a bit of frost this morning. We were in Burnsville overnight and drove back home in the early morning. Our car had frozen water on the roof and in many places we saw frost on cars and roofs. On our drive home the temperatures ranged from 32 up to 40, so it was a brisk morning.
Farm fields through out our drive were much the same. Low areas either still had water standing in them, or showed evidence of being under water. Some areas had dried out enough that the soybeans had been harvested. There are a lot of bean fields left to be harvested.
We are over half done with bean harvest. So far we have left very little. There have been a few places we have left ruts, but I have yet to get so far in I could not back out. All of our water has gone away, but the ground is still wet. I expect to finish soybean harvest on Tuesday if everything holds together.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, frost, Minnesota, organic, rain, weather, weather wisdom | Tags: Corn, farm, frost, hot, Minnesota, organic, rain, weather
My dad says that corn is safe from frost 45 days after tasseling . With almost every field of corn in full tassel now we should be able to avoid frost damage to this years crop. This year has seen crop development ahead of normal. That is good for our corn fields on all counts.
My neighbors organic corn is still a ways from tasseling. I’m not really sure why, it got planted about the same time as all of the others around here. It’s either a varietal difference or a fertility problem. I’ll be watching to see how that corn does.
We’ve had an abundance of rainfall this year. That has made too much moisture a limiting factor in some places. Some of our low areas held water for a long time and there will be no crop harvested there. Conversely our high sandy ground looks really good. It is possible we could get a good crop from those areas that are prone to drying out this year.
It almost seems that we need to get a bit of adverse weather some time in the year just to push corn to do its best. Heat especially is needed. We’ve had several days now of hot humid weather and the corn is really growing. Tassels and ears seem to appear overnight.
Wet weather is really good for pollination. We’ve had some small showers and heavy dews that should help get the pollen to stick. Starting tonight we are supposed to get a few days of rainy weather. Rain now should really make for well filled ears. Then we will need about an inch of rain a week to make optimum kernel size. With wet soil, we could get by with a bit less. The fields are looking good.