Minnesota Farmer


July 16
July 16, 2018, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Corn, Farm, nitrogen, weather

Who would have believed it.  Here it is July 16 and the corn is almost fully tasseled.  We went through a terrible spring, wet ground and late planting made us believe the whole year would be late, and now the corn is tasseling on time, this is great!

Now not every field looks this good.  There are drowned out spots, but they do not really take up all that much area.  Of more concern are really late planted corn, replanted corn and areas of compaction or nitrogen shortage, all of those can amount to many more acres and much more yield loss than the drowned out will effect.  When you look across a field and you see areas where the corn looks a bit yellow and is short, that could be from any of those problems.  They will cause a shortage of mature corn at harvest and a reduced yield.

So I’m giving thanks for the places where the corn looks great, but I’m a bit worried for the areas where it does not.

Advertisements


What a spring!
June 26, 2018, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Corn, Farm, farm life, planting, rain, Soybeans, weather

This has been a wild spring!  First we had lots of snow that didn’t go away, then we had rain that would not quit.

Normally we want to start planting corn about April 23, but it was still cold and wet then.  I did finally get started planting on the 7th of May, but I only got 1 acre planted that day.  It wasn’t until the 18th of May that I finally got finished planting corn, a full 8 days later than our usual end of planting date.

I got right at it and started planting soybeans on the 20th of May, but then the skies opened up. The field I started to plant got over 4 inch of rainfall that night, and since it is near a creek, all of our neighbors water ran across that field.  It was not until the 5th of June before I could get back into that field.

Several times I tried to get soybean planting going again, but it was not until June first that I finally got another field planted.  The first week of June stayed mostly dry and I got all of the soybeans planted, about two weeks later than I wanted, but planted.

Between June 6 and June 11 we got 1.3 inches of rain, then 4 days in a row of no rain.  I started to get ready to kill some weeds.  Then the skies opened.  Between June 16 and June 21 we got 6.8 inches of rain, and we had flooded fields.

It is now June 26,  we still have water everywhere.  This is north of my dad’s buildings where about 3 feet of water is not going away.  We’ll lose crop here.  There’s a low spot in this bean field southeast of my house, and two ponds in view along my dad’s west fence line.  This spot was so wet last fall we could not get it harvested, it still has water in it today.  I’m actually amazed that the soybeans look good here since this field got two showers of over 4 inches.

My farm has gotten 9.6 inches of rain so far this month and more is forecast in a day or two.  This is definitely a spring for the record books.



Not this year!
April 22, 2018, 1:53 pm
Filed under: agriculture, cold, Corn, Farm, farm life, Minnesota, planting, Trees, weather, winter

April 15 was the first day crop insurance covered newly planted corn here in Southwestern Minnesota.  Has anyone here started planting corn yet?  Not this year!  This year we had just received 7 inches of snow on April 14.  In years past some of my neighbors would have planted some of their corn before April 15, not this year!

April 22 is the first day that the University of Minnesota recommends planting corn here in Southwestern Minnesota.  Will we be planting corn on Monday?  Not this year!

This year we still have snow in the fields.

This year a field like this where the snow is mostly melted is hard to find in my neighborhood.

This year a field tree line has a lot of snow on the down wind side where snow piled up when the north winds blew the snow around.

This year groves of trees have 4 feet or more of snow piled up in them which will melt into the fields for a long time yet.

So when do I hope to start planting corn?  Who knows.  It will not be this month.  My hope is to start planting by the normal last day of planting on May 10.  If I have to wait to plant corn after May 20 we’ll have to change the varieties of corn I plant.  This year may yet go down in the books as the latest I have planted corn, but I do not know the answer to when I will start planting yet, all I can say is not yet.



Minnesota Shrimp

On Monday, I attended our local Corn and Soybean growers meeting.  The guest speaker was from a company called Tru-Shrimp.  The goal of Tru-Shrimp is to help the U.S. grow more of the shrimp currently eaten here.  Currently 80% of the shrimp eaten in the U.S. is grown overseas in lagoons and bays near the ocean.  Because of a variety of problems, these shrimp production areas can have a mortality rate of over 60%, a number that no U.S. farmer would allow in their flocks and herds.

4144-004-43DD2776

Tru_Shrimp has developed an indoor pond system for shrimp production in Balaton, MN. Thats about as far away from salt water as you can get in the lower 48.  This pond system is set to be put into full scale production in an indoor ocean near Luverne, MN in about a year.  The plan is to eventually have 12 of these large scale shrimp production sites in the area.

Now why would the corn and soybean growers be interested in shrimp production?  The food source for the shrimp will be locally sourced corn and soybeans.  In ocean side shrimp farms the shrimp are fed fish meal.  Taking fish and fish by-products for shrimp production may be part of the reason for the 60% mortality rate.  Using corn and soybeans in a totally enclosed system where water is filtered and reused has gotten the mortality rate to nearer 10%, a truly ground breaking shift.

So keep your eyes open for Tru-Shrimp.  Once those Minnesota shrimp farms are up and running you’ll be able to buy and eat some really fresh shrimp, all brought to you by folks here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and your Minnesota Corn and Soybean Growers.

 



March Madness Snowstorm
March 27, 2018, 7:39 am
Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, snow, weather

It seems that every storm since Christmas has had us in it’s bull’s eye.  Many areas to our north have been mostly snowless, but we have been buried in snow.  Now comes March and we really get dumped on.IMG_1448

I know we got at least 10 inches of snow to go along with the stuff that had not melted from the past storms.IMG_1449

There was not a lot of blowing, but what there was left some interesting drifts to walk around to get to my snow removal equipment.  The snow was heavy and wet, so a blower had a hard time moving it, and some times the snow would not flow into the blower.  I ended up pushing some piles up behind my tractor blower.

IMG_1450

I decided to move the minimal amount of snow I had to.  I’m hoping that warm temperatures and rain will move it out, but it is still going to take a long time to melt this snow.  As long as we have snow, the temperatures will not warm up, so melting will be slow.

With planting only a month away and Easter later this week, signs of spring are welcome.  It’s just that I know we have a lot of melting to do to get to spring.



American Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th Annual Convention

This past week I was able to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 99th Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show. Part of the reason I go is to participate in educational workshops that help me to expand leadership skills and impact policy discussions. There is the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of leaders in agriculture and witness keynote speakers in the general sessions. I get to explore the IDEAg Trade Show floor to gain a stronger industry network, learn about innovative technologies, and enjoy TED-style talks on the Cultivation Center stage.

An annual meeting gives you the opportunity to interact with others in agriculture and share your stories of the rural life. There were plenty of opportunities to tour the Nashville area and experience things only available in Music City.  I also met up with a few friends from across the country that I only see at a major event like this.

Since the Convention was held in Nashville we were lucky to get Reba McEntire as our Monday keynote speaker, but we also heard from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duval plus others.

Sessions I was able to go to included ones on Membership Recruitment, Talking to Consumers, Animal Activism and Religion, Crop Markets, Crop Insurance, Farm Policy, Retirement, and Dicamba.

The last official event of the General Session was an address by President Trump.  It has been 25 years since a president has addressed the AFBF, they are always invited, but few take the time.  Policy development sessions were scheduled for Tuesday, but not being a delegate we did no stay for that.

Next years 100th AFBF meeting is in New Orleans, a place I have yet to visit.  I’m seriously considering making the trip.

 



In the room
January 10, 2018, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Farm, Farm Bureau, Politicians, Politics | Tags: , ,

I’m just back from a trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) meeting in Tennessee.  I like to go every once in a while, especially when it is a city that I have family near.  In this case my sister lives just south of the city.

The main sessions run from Sunday morning until Monday afternoon.  There are tours and contests that run before and during, a trade show and on Tuesday a delegates session.IMG_1408

This years registration included an orange arm band for use on Monday.  That was the only way you could get in to the room for the closing session.  The extra layer was because for the first time in 25 years, a sitting President was going to speak to attendees.

Before we left there was a news release that President Trump would be speaking to the assembly.  Until later Sunday no one was told exactly when.  Then those with the meeting app were sent a change of schedule for the days meetings, including a security page.

Many meeting times were moved up, or moved to different locations, the trade show closed early and security check points were set up.  The ball room was to open at 10:00 for the noon closing session, and the line started forming about 8:00.  By the time we got in line at 9:00 the line went almost all the way across the Opryland hotel complex.

The security was not ready until 10:30 and the line movement didn’t reach us until 30 minutes later.  The first speaker, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue, started on time. Once you cleared security you were ushered to your seat, you went where they told you, no exceptions.  Your group had better clear security together, or you had to sit apart.  We got in at 12:15 and were pleased to get in the door.  We were about 3/4 of the way back and off to the side so the cameras were not in our way.  The auditorium seats about 5000 people, what with about 500 news people, special guests and a congressional delegation, we were quite a crowd.  Extra rooms were ready for a remote feed, but a saw a few empty seats in the back.

Security included toilets and a lunch cart.  Your only choice was hot dogs, and a few different varieties of drinks.  There were no where near the facilities needed for the group.  If you left the secure area you could not be sure you would be let in again.  After the closing session and an interview of Reba McEntire, there was a scheduled 45 minute intermission, which went a bit longer, no one rushes the President.

The speech was not overly long.  He did spend much of it praising the farmers there for their hard work.  He also reminded the delegation that throughout our countries history, farmers have answered the call to build and defend our country.  The President knew the areas of the country that turned out to elect him were mostly rural.  He told us that our forgotten area of the country was not forgotten anymore.

Overall, my opinion of Trump did not change.  He seemed to be on message more than usual, perhaps because he thought he was with a friendly audience.  He got 6 standing ovations, but not all of his usual topics were universally well received.  He did seem to forget where he was later in his speech when he spoke only to the Tennessee delegation, not the whole Federation.

At the end of his speech Trump signed two Executive Orders to promote the increase of the availability of Broadband Internet access in rural areas.  These orders were the product of the Rural Prosperity Task Force which was to deliver it’s findings that day.  The report is available at usda.gov/RuralProsperity

It was interesting to be in the room with a sitting president, to go through the security measures and hype of a presidential speech.  Secretary of Ag. Purdue and AFBF President Duval seem to think he is doing good things for agriculture, we shall see how this all plays out.  I can say I was in the room, and in politics it is better to be sitting at the table in the room, than on the menu.