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.

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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.



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.



Snows on the prairie
December 17, 2016, 1:07 pm
Filed under: cold, Farm, farm life, weather, wind, winter | Tags: , ,

img_0726

Snows on the prairie

 

Over the ground lays a mantel of white, for the winds of the prairie are still,

But folk here all know that the long winds will blow, and that snow will move to where winds will.

That lovely, still snow tomorrow will lie, in drifts that are hard near and far,

So look well my friends at this still, shimmering snow, that tomorrow will bury your car.

 

When cold winds do moan and tree branches groan the new fallen snow will take flight,

Snow again takes to the air, to move here and there, to places revealed by morning light.

Then snow sculptures will form, in strange shapes smooth and worn, in places away from winds might.

New wonders will be revealed, and my soul will be healed, by the wonders shown forth at the death of the night.

 

Soon I’ll venture forth, away from fires warmth, to see what’s revealed with morning’s birth,

Small creatures will join me, from tunnel and tall tree, their tracks, they shall add to my mirth,

But I’ll not tarry too long, for the wind it is strong, and I do know what my life is worth,

I’ll come back to my chair, my book it is there, and the fire, it will warm me in the hearth.

 

A poem inspired by a walk in last nights fresh snow.



Maturing or dying
September 8, 2016, 9:18 am
Filed under: Ag education, agriculture, Corn, Fall, Farm, harvest, Minnesota, rain, weather | Tags: , , ,

It’s been a wet year in our part of Minnesota.  We have never been short of moisture at any time this year, in fact most of the year we have been wet.  The rains come and do not turn off.  Getting field work done has been hard.  Now as the fall harvest is nearing, corn farmers are wondering is my corn maturing,img_0705

or dying?img_0706

Every year as harvest nears a host of rots and diseases move into our corn stalks to start the breakdown of dying corn plants.  Sometime they move in too soon and the corn dies before it matures.  Then you have a mess like in the second picture above.  Modern corn varieties are less susceptible to many of those diseases and rots, but when too much water kills off the corn before it matures, the rot takes over.

In about a month we will be into harvest.  If too much of our corn is down and rotting, we will have reduced yields and difficult harvest conditions.  Then we will know the answer to our question, is that corn crop maturing or dying?



Way beyond knee high
July 6, 2016, 7:48 pm
Filed under: agriculture, Corn, Farm, history, Minnesota, rain, weather

There was a time when corn that was knee high by the 4th of July was a goal to shoot for.  No more.

Today (July 6, 2016) I was out in the field and found our tallest corn already at 10 feet and still growing.  It’s even starting to show a few tastles which has only happened this early two other times in my life.

Alas, not all of our corn is this tall.  Spots that are sandy are starting to show the lack of rain and are still quite short.  Areas that were too wet at planting are also still short and not quite the deep green of the rest of the field.  Still, it’s looking beautiful out there.