Sunday, June 25, 2017

3 months in 3 minutes

This spring has been quite unusual so I will attempt to cover April 21st to June 25 in a three minute read.

    April 21st soil preparation and planting began, fortunately several weeks prior fertilizer was able to be applied.  Planters were going for 4 days and then rained out for 19 days.  Each time we seemed to be within a day of returning to field another rain fell with widespread coverage.  May 15th to 27 turned out to be slightly better averaging 50% of days suitable for fieldwork.  Farmers were concerned that acres would never get planted but the saying goes that "Farmers will plant a crop" and that was true.  From May 29th to June 3 planters were rolling from before dawn to much after dark with 18-20 hour days common.  Optimum planting dates for corn would be the last week of April and I expect to see 75% of fields planted to corn in that time period instead of last week of may.   We are one month behind from the start but not ready to throw in the towel at all.
   Packera glabella  or Butterweed

   These pictures are close ups of what cars saw in the field.  It is a winter annual.  Meaning it germinates in the fall and is ready to take advantage of this head start in competition with other weeds and crops.  It was so noticeable because of the delay in fieldwork this spring.  Notice the deep yellow center that makes it stand out among normally green weeds in  the fields.  Yellow rocket (Barbarea vulgaris) was also present but has smaller flowers.  
   Because germination is in the fall herbicides that were applied during the spring are no longer present.  Combined with reduced tillage to control soil erosion the fall seedlings are not destroyed or may germinate after that tillage.  This weed has the patience to take advantage of these opportunities: reduced tillage, fewer chemicals, and late spring.

   Area wheat fields are almost mature and there are rains forecast for 3 days this week.  While rain will be good for corn and soybeans it causes test weight ( density of kernels ) to be lower and some possibilities of fungus and molds.  Either of these lower the price paid to the farmer.

If I could order the weather? here it is.  Warm days under 90 degrees, cool nights in the 60's, rain once a week, warm October with no killing frost.  This may help make up for the late start in crop development.

Serving together, Dean

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