Minnesota Farmer


A Wet May

Here in Southwestern Minnesota, May 2012 will go down in the books as the wettest May in recorded history.  On our farm we had 12 inches during the month with a mostly dry 10 day period in the middle that allowed some field work.  Basically the month was a washout.

That dark streak in the field is where water again sat long enough to kill the corn.

It truly is amazing how the weather has turned.  In early April I was contemplating what we would do if the drought continued.  We had gone since the middle of July 2011 with next to no precipitation, now river levels are at near flood stage and fields are filled with ponding water.  In mid-April I had been asked if I expected there to be water this year for the crop, my response was that Minnesota always seemed to make up for dry periods with wet ones, man was I right.

A large area is again under water in this field.

I did replant some of my corn where water had killed off the young plants, and those areas are now under water again.  Corn that is now standing is getting too tall for me to go in and inter-seed, and the areas are not big enough for me to go in and work them and plant again.  I am just going to have to take what is left.  I was lucky, I only reseeded 2% of my corn, and expect no more of the crop lost now.

You can see the glint of water as you look down the rows after last nights rain.

I’ve not had a chance to assess the loss of soybeans.  I know we did lose some to erosion, but I had no standing water to kill off large areas.  I expect only a thinning of the stand which soybeans can cover up better than corn does.  My largest soybean field has yet to be planted since the seed is not yet on my farm.  These are beans that are destined for seed production and are still in transit from fields in the southern hemisphere.  I’ll need some dry conditions so I can plant those when they come.

I have about an acre of alfalfa that I cut yesterday before the rain.  The plants had passed 1/4 bloom and were ready to be harvested.  I’m hoping for some dry weather now so the alfalfa can dry and I can bale it up.  The ground was wet when I cut it and that will not help it dry any, but a little sun and some wind will do wonders.

Temperatures have switched to the 60’s now with mornings in the upper 40’s.  This is too cool for much plant growth, but warmer weather will come, I’m just not sure when.  In the mean time we prepare for the rush of work that will come when fields dry out.  No man controls the weather, we just live with the hand it deals us.

Michael

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