Minnesota Farmer


To Colorado and back

Our family had a reunion in Colorado this past week.  As a farmer you know I was watching the crops all the way.  Since I drove I do not have any pictures, but I do have a few thoughts to share.

With all of the problems we have had this year getting in the crop I was interested to see how other areas of the country were doing.  Over all it was evident on our trip that others had the same wet spring we did.  Even in areas that rely heavily on irrigation you could see places were the crops had had a tough time getting going.  Wet areas, places where the crop was missing altogether and other stresses we in most fields.

Our trip took us from Southwestern Minnesota, across the corner of Iowa to Sioux City, down 77 to Fremont, Nebraska, west on 30 to Grand Island, on I-80 to the Colorado border, then down I-76 to Denver.  This is some prime cropland that starts out as corn and soybeans and then starts to add in alfalfa as you get into cattle country.  As you go west and conditions get drier we saw wheat, oats and barely as well as sunflowers and potatoes.  The driest areas of Colorado were pasture land with some irrigated crops mixed in.

Here are some crop notes from the trip.

  • There was an area near Worthington, MN that you could see had gotten the crop in and well off to development, and then had so much rain that it drowned out 6 foot tall corn.
  • The Missouri river was still well over its banks.  There were even roads closed because of high water near Sioux City.
  • The Platte River was down some, but still held more water than usual for this time of year.
  • Irrigation systems were going everywhere as the farmers poured water to their crops in the heat.  Temperatures of 90 to over 100 were common and the wind was sucking up the water.
  • Small grain harvest was mostly done, and the straw was being baled in many of the fields.  Harvest crews were waiting to move to the next area.
  • Hay fields were cut all over the areas of our travels.  Most of the hay looked to be in good condition.
  • Pastures looked dry.  There was a lot of pasture, and not a lot of cows on them.

Gas prices were also interesting.  We started out with gas prices of $3.75 around home.  Our lowest price paid was $3.47 on the Winnebago Indian Reservation and went as high as $3.99 at Ogallala, Nebraska.  Otherwise prices were mainly set at $3.65 to $3.69.  Even in the mountains of Colorado we did not see a great variation in prices.

Our reunion was at a resort near Breckenridge.  We were at an elevation of over 9000 feet.  Even at that altitude it was warm.  Highs in the 80’s and lows in the 50’s were a relief from what we had here, but when the sun came out it got HOT.

It was good to get away and be with family for a while, but it’s good to be home now.

Michael

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