Minnesota Farmer


The push

Every summer seems to have one, the period when planting and harvest like hours keep you in the field for hours on end, day after day.  I think I have finally reached the end of this summers push.

There is a period of time in the early summer when the corn is growing rapidly that it seems everything must be done at once.  If you should happen to get a rain storm in there, life can get even more hectic.  This year I had not only a long period of wet weather, but a family wedding and a funeral in that time period.  Usually the push is over before the 4th of July, but this years wet, cold spring slowed crop growth so that the jobs came later in the year.100_2188

The push started with side-dressing nitrogen this year.  Sometimes it starts with spraying weeds, but the herbicide we put on right after planting held the weeds off so we were into the nitrogen when the rains came.  We also had to send our JD 8220 to the shop when a sleeve in the motor cracked and water started getting into the piston.

Once the ground started to dry I would select a field to put nitrogen on by which field was driest.  That worked pretty well until I was almost done, then in a field that has never been a problem before, I hit some wet going, and buried the nitrogen applicator.100_2184Yeah, I was in that deep.  I don’t think I would have had any problem if I had the JD 8220 usable for side-dressing.

Not all of our corn was growing at the same rate, but the weeds were really starting to take over parts of some fields.  It was time to spray weeds before the corn got too tall, and time was running out.  You do not just throw some herbicide on a field and hope it works.  Although I plant glyphosate tolerant corn varieties, sometimes glyphosate does not do the job.  I was having problems with some larger broadleaf weeds in some fields, and that needed an extra boost to kill them off.  I also had some fields where the return on investment did not warrant spraying anything.

When I started side-dressing nitrogen I had scouted all of our fields and found few weeds to be concerned about.  It seems that the rainy period we had jump started a few weeds, because now the soybean fields were showing lots of weed growth.  Corn can outgrow most weeds if given the chance, but soybeans are a different matter.  Soybeans always seem to need two or three herbicide applications to keep the weeds down.  It was now time for herbicide application number two in the soybean fields.100_1335

I plant some of my soybeans in 15 inch rows.  The soybeans close in the rows sooner, and that can keep weeds from growing later in the season.  We do raise some pre-foundation seed beans for Asgrow that have to be planted in 30 inch rows.  Pre-foundation is a stage in the life of a seed variety when the seed company is trying to increase the availability of that variety.  The variety is still years from introduction, so each acre of pre-foundation seed is very valuable to the company.  They will be out several times during the year evaluating the variety to see if it will be one that is going to make it to full time commercial seed production.  They weed out 75% of the varieties every year during the pre-foundation phase.

Now that I had the soybeans sprayed I hooked on to the cultivator to get some weeds out of a few corn fields.  When you raise corn on a field that had corn on it the year before, volunteer corn can be one of your biggest weed problems.  The only way to get them out is to cultivate.  There are also a few weeds that will resist the herbicides we are using.  A cultivator will take care of the ones growing between the rows at least.

Although the push is over, there are still things to be done on the farm.  Neglected chores and time with family becomes more of a priority as summer advances.  I should be able to get out fishing now also.  I know I have a job or two my wife wants me to do, and the weeds in the garden are still growing, so I will keep busy.  Now I’ll have more time to talk to you when you stop by.  Please come for a visit.

Michael

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