Minnesota Farmer

Topsy-Turvy weather
April 29, 2017, 5:59 pm
Filed under: cold, Corn, Farm, forecast, Minnesota, planting, snow, spring

The warm weather earlier this spring convinced me that spring was here to stay.  I went to work refilling my stack of wood and settled in for the warm weather we expect in spring.100_3113

Unfortunately I did not keep access to some of the dryer wood.  Now the weather has turned cold, with freezing temperatures in the morning and a forecast of snow for Sunday.  That has left me scavenging burnables and searching for dry wood in tree lines. All of this in a time the calendar says I should be planting corn.

Many of my neighbors used the previous warm weather to plant corn.  I looked at the weather forecast, checked soil temperatures, looked for barn swallows and tree leaves and decided to wait.  I’m not sure how much damage is happening out there in that cold wet ground, but I was not going to chance it.  I was not the only one, with many a planter sidelined waiting for needed warmth.

Now the forecast is for snow and two more days of cold.  Then the weather reports says spring will be here.  If the warm comes as predicted, it looks like I’ll be starting planting this Thursday of Friday, two weeks after those early go getters started putting their corn in the ground.  If it will make any difference I do not know.  I just know I am happier for having waited.


A little sun, a little rain
May 14, 2015, 8:07 am
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, planting, rain, seasons, Soybeans, spring, weather | Tags: , , , , ,

After a below normal moisture winter and early spring, the rains have begun to come.  We’ve had a little sun, a little rain, and not much for heat.  Still corn is beginning to emerge and soybeans to sprout.  Every time we get a dry period I see more and more fields that have been planted.  We are by no means done with planting here in Southwestern Minnesota, but we are getting closer.

The lack of heat is causing some distress for the corn plants that have emerged.  Long periods of cloudy wet weather leave young corn plants looking a bit yellow.  Then we get a dry, warmer day or two and the corn plants get a chance to green up as they draw nutrients out of the soil.

Topsoil moisture conditions have improved greatly.  Now they are almost a bit too wet when you dig down a few inches.  Still the subsoil areas are dry and that keeps the water on the top moving down.  I’ve even seen some recovery of small ponds and creeks as the rains continue.  That is really good news.

I’m just about done with planting soybeans.  I’ve been waiting for a tile repair crew to come into the last area I have to plant.  That crew showed up yesterday, and today it rains.  So now I wait for a bit more dry and some heat.  Once the soil conditions are right I only need part of a day to finish planting.  We’ll get the planting done when the weather allows.

Plant in dust

After two consecutive years of planting in muddy conditions this year was so different, and so easy.  I do not ever remember planting going start to finish so fast.  Soil conditions were perfect, the weather was warm and the wind was even bearable.

The old adage is “Plant in dust, your bins will bust.  Plant in mud, your crops a dud.”  This year was definitely a year for planting in dust.  We had little to no moisture in the top inch or two of soil and precious little under that. Every time you work soil you dry it out so I did as little soil moving as possible.  Still I worry that some of my seed may be in dry ground.


Now we wait.  When will we be able to see rows of corn popping through?

This springs temperatures stayed cold for a bit too long, but when they broke we went right to hot and windy, but little rain.  I am resisting going right to soybean planting for now, but if it is dry again next week, I’ll plant soybeans also.  In the mean time I watch for rain clouds and read weather reports.  We need some rain.

Still a chill

It’s April 23, the day the University of Minnesota says those of us who farm in Southwestern Minnesota should start planting corn, but there is still a chill in the earth and I will wait.

The last few mornings have found ice in the cats water dish.  Frost on roofs and grass has been obvious.  Stick a thermometer into the earth and it will show temperatures still in the 30’s.  This is not where I want my seed to be.

I have not as yet seen one dandelion bloom.  Crocus, tulip and other early bloomers are not yet budding.  Only my pear tree shows blooms, the apples do not, and few trees even show the smallest of leaves.  The trees tell me it is cold out there.

4/23/2015 pear tree in bloom

4/23/2015 pear tree in bloom

There were a few days over a week ago when we had some warm weather, then the insects were out, but most days are bug free.  Because there are no bugs there are no barn swallows.  Barn swallows swooping around eating insects are a sure sign that the ground is finally warm enough to plant.  Yep, all signs say it is still cold in that dirt.

So when will I start planting?  I’m not sure yet, but come Monday I’ll check and see how things are going.  Frost is finally out of the forecast, but temperatures are not all that warm yet.  Also rain is in the forecast for the next few days, that will also slow us down.  If we get into May and have not yet started planting then the calendar starts to come into play.  We need to get that corn planted by May 10.

Yesterday’s Snowman

Yesterday’s snowman is melting away100_3109

and soon puddles will outnumber snowdrifts.

100_3108The weather has turned warm quite quickly here in southwestern Minnesota.  Just a few days ago low temperatures were in the single digits and the high didn’t make 20.  Today the high is near 40 and the low will barely get below freezing.  Warmer weather is forecast for next week.  Hurray!


Not quite
June 8, 2014, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Corn, Farm, rain, spring, weather | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The weather has got me stalled out for now.  We’ve been hauling corn to town because we really do not have much else to do, field conditions are just too wet.

Earlier last week we got about 3 inches of rain.  Conditions were almost ready to start spraying those pesky weeds, and we get another half an inch.  Now the almost ready spots have water sitting in them again.  The corn is really growing with all of this rain, but so are the weeds.

I cut my little bit of alfalfa last Tuesday, but when the weather is this wet you just cannot bale it, so there it lays waiting.  I did finally think it was dry enough to rake it today, and now some clouds have moved in.  With a wet forecast, there will be no baling hay today or tomorrow.

I decided to use my down time to get the lawn mowed.  Now I broke the mower deck belt, and I do not have another on hand.  Now that job is only partly done and the grass is growing fast!

Oh well, it looks as if this is another spring to get interrupted by rain.  I will get it done, I’m just not sure when.  For now all of those jobs will be left not quite done.

Timely rains

Over 2 inches of rain has fallen in our area over the last 24 hours and more is on the way.  For us the timing was great, for others not so much.  I was able to get all of our corn and soybeans in the ground over a week ago.  I had a few spots that needed some replant where construction or planter troubles left open spots.  We also had some soybeans that were planted in ground with freshly applied manure that left chunks of earth that did not seal over the soybeans.  This rain will get them all off to a good start.

A trip around the state, however, will reveal some others still attempting to get wet spots, or even whole fields planted.  For them more rain is not needed.100_2701

So now we have puddles and sump pumps running.  A welcome change after we missed several showers over the last few weeks.  If this turns dry we will be looking fondly back on this rain.  Soil moisture levels are starting to normalize after three years of dry conditions and we need it.

My Koi pond is also enjoying an infusion of new water.100_2700I have two down spouts that dump roof water into the pond and this helps with fresh water recharge.  The pond level is definitely high and the fish are enjoying it.  I need to get into the pond now and get my planters refilled.  The Marsh Marigolds are done blooming, but most other plants are just getting started growing.  I also need to do some weeding.  Wet weather will give me time to get some pond work done.

Now we wait to see how much rain this set of storms will give us.  It’s a slow time for field work so we can wait a bit.  More farm work awaits.