Minnesota Farmer

January 2013 drive across the corn belt.

cropped-2013_blog_headerThe 2013 American Farm Bureau meeting in Nashville allowed me to make a drive across the corn belt from my home in southwestern Minnesota.  Of interest to me, as to most farmers were the conditions along the way, specifically water conditions.de43f58f66faba7a30340d6b664284a0-1

In our area we are still in the grips of a drought.  We have had very little moisture since June of 2012.  Although our surface soil has some moisture, our subsoil is dry.  This is really evident in our rivers, creeks and lakes.  The Des Moines River, which is only a few miles from my home, is a mere trickle in its bed, creeks are mostly dry and lake levels are low.  It was these items that I looked for as I drove to and from Nashville.

When we left home on January 10 the conditions were looking up.  We have had several inches of snow, dry snow, but snow, over the last few months, and there was rain in the air.  The hoped for rain only amounted to 4 hundredths of an inch, not enough to make a difference and snow has also been absent this month.  As we drove south across Iowa, the story was the same.  Little snow, low lakes and rivers.

Conditions improved a bit as we crossed the northeastern corner of Missouri.  There was evidence of a bit of rain, and the rivers seemed to be running a bit better than further north.  As we moved southeast the evidence of rain increased and there were even some places in Kentucky and Tennessee where water was standing in the fields.  Rivers in these areas were running bank full, a fact which bodes well for the early part of the cropping season for them.  It has also helped out barge traffic on the lower part of the Mississippi.

We arrived in Nashville to some really nice weather, temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s and sunshine.  After those first two days the weather changed.  Our last days in Nashville were cold and rainy.  Mornings were icy, and temperatures rarely got over the mid 30’s, not good sight-seeing weather.  During our stay they received about six inches of rain.

The entire Ohio river valley has been getting a good soaking this winter, but folks further north are not quite so fortunate.  I would say that unless conditions change soon Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas are in for another dry year.  This will not be good news for those who want to buy corn and soybeans in the coming months.

End users of the crops raised in the corn belt need rain to reduce the price of corn and soybeans.  We are bleeding demand with each month that the prices stay high.  The coming months are going to be very interesting for all of us in the midwest and plains states.



1 Comment so far
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Well said Mike. It’s amazing to me how the national political and news agenda continues to be focused on perceived rights/needs to the point none of them remember we all need to eat, irrespective of color, race or creed.

Comment by David W. Schneider

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