Rain (in moderation) makes grain!

So, the CEO/CFO/Marketing Director finally forced me to write my first blog post.  So far, I've been able to come up with excuses like planting, field work, yard work, chasing kids, changing oil on the flux capacitor, etc.  Last night we had around 3 inches of rain at the farm...no excuses were going to work this time.  I've never written a blog post before so here goes nothing....be kind!

It's pretty exciting to get into the field after winter. We don't have a heated shop yet, so working on equipment can be cold!  Once March and April rolled around, area farmers started getting their fields ready to plant.  This may include: disking, ridge tilling, shredding stalks, applying fertilizer and/or pre-emergent herbicide, as well as other things.  We had a pretty warm spring early on and it was tempting to want to plant field corn early.  However, we held off until after April 10 - the earliest planting date as per the USDA for our region. 

 

The idea is to go from this:

 To this:

 

We won't start planting popcorn for a couple weeks.  Popcorn needs warmer soil temperatures to germinate and grow so we usually start in early May.  We do know where we'll plant it and the fields are ready...just waiting for warmer weather.  Popcorn can't be planted too late though because the ears/kernels wouldn't have enough time to mature. According to the USDA, May 20 is the last date to plant popcorn in our region. We'll be plenty nervous if our popcorn isn't all in the ground and growing by May 10 :)

 

This is what I mean when I say planting:

(the globe on top of the tractor is GPS auto-steer, hands free steering!)

 

Planting field corn has been going well.  Early on, we were concerned that the soil might be too dry to plant.  Very dry soil makes it difficult for our planter to bury the seeds deep enough and they also need moisture to sprout.  We ended up getting a timely inch of rain and that really helped out!  Once it dried a bit we began planting once more but were stopped by some significant rain this week...the 3 inches that I mentioned earlier. 

 There shouldn't be water there^

 

It rained a little less than 2 hours so the three inches came down really fast.  It also hailed and we were lucky that the crops were still underground, otherwise they would have been badly damaged.  The problem with that much rain that fast is that it can wash the seed we just planted right out of the rows.  It also causes erosion and washes away a lot of the work that was done in preparation of planting.  Thankfully we practice no-till farming so we don't lose as much top soil as we would if we disked/plowed our fields.  It's kind of a wait-and-see approach to determining what areas might need to be replanted. (Replanting = expensive and not much fun)  Overall, we were more lucky than some of our neighbors who had upwards of 5 inches, grapefruit sized hail and severe flooding.  I'm not complaining about the rain, it's definitely a good thing!  I just wish we could have saved a couple of the inches for later in the summer when we're likely to need it! 

 

 

 

 

The weather forecast is still predicting wet weather for the next few days so we're in a holding pattern right now.  Once it dries out we'll be back to planting and hoping that the work we already completed doesn't need to be redone. 

 

It will be very difficult for anything to grow there....Just planted Monday.

 

 

That's about all to report for now, thanks for reading!  Stay tuned for more updates...my guess is that my second blog post won't take the 32 years the first one did!


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