I’ve talked in this space before about my dad’s favorite days. One of them is the last day of harvest, when the crop is in the bin and all you have to do is dry it and sell it for, hopefully, a worthwhile price.
But perhaps the more important day is the last day of seeding. Once the crop is in the ground you have opportunity. If everything goes right, you will have the opportunity to harvest a crop and the opportunity to sell it for a worthwhile price. If my seed remains in the bin and not in the ground, I have no opportunity. I will have black dirt that has weeds growing on it and that is all.
I’ve seen many news stories this year about the high prices farmers are getting for their crops. It seems to me that many people think we throw the seed out in the ground, it grows, we harvest it, and then sell it for a record price.
What isn’t reported is the roll mother nature plays in farming. This year our challenge has been a wet, cool spring. The fields really never did dry out to an acceptable level to be planted. We planted a lot of our crop in marginal conditions this year. Everything is going to have go right to have a decent crop this year. We will have to have enough sunlight and heat to get the plants up and moving, we will have to see moderate rainfall to coax roots from poorly planted seeds to go down in the soil to get the nutrients the plant needs. We will have to have a late fall to allow us to harvest the crop in a decent matter, and if we are lucky we will get the fields in good enough shape to plant a crop next year.
As you can see, there are a lot of ifs involved and a lot of things that will have to go right. Most importantly, the seed is in the ground and that is what will give us opportunity.
We’re done, its over, a long spring planting season has come to its end. We finished seeding last week. It’s about a month late in happening but we are done.
We started the last week with a weather forecast that suggested we’d be seeing a couple of inches of rain over the week. So we started the tractor and went for it. A lot of this year’s crop went in extremely marginal conditions. A lot of seed can be seen laying on top of the ground as mud stuck to the press wheels and flipped the seed from being snug in the soil to laying on top of it for all the world to see.
But when the weather man says there is a chance for rain over the next week what do you do? You know the seed won’t grow if it’s in the bin. You know that crop insurance only really works if the crop is in the ground. So you go out and you do the best you can and hope for the best.
Some of the land in our neighborhood did get a harrow over the top of it after being seeded. This will put a little soil on top of the seed so that if it does rain, there is some dirt on top of the seed for it to latch onto and put forth a sprout.
Not an uncommon scene from this year. Not a pretty sight but it is planted.
But we are going to need to see the rain. Hot and dry will not foster any growth. so while the crop is in it is going to need a lot of help to amount to much of anything. Let’s hope for the best.
As I said in yesterday’s post, we haven’t done much in the past week. We still have 2000 acres of wheat to plant and time is running out. Some of our land still hasn’t dried out from the spring flood. In some cases, straw from last year’s crop has floated into our drainage ditches and plugged the ditch holding water back onto the field. We’d tried running the four wheeler through these spots but that only got stuck as the straw is deep and there is no bottom. So on Saturday morning I decided to get a bigger four wheeler, our 7920 tractor. This normally works quite well as the tractor will sink into the mud, find the bottom and create a big trench for the water to run through. The downside is the big trench can be hard to fill in when the water is gone and you want to plant, spray or harvest your crop. The other downside is that you need an equally big tractor when you get stuck. Our first attempt at getting unstuck, resulted in almost getting the other tractor stuck as we didn’t have a long enough chain. Once we’d acquired more chain we tried again and subsequently broke the other chain. The third time was the charm as we pulled the tractor backwards up onto the road.
There lies the end of the mudding around for this year, the water can sit there as long as it wants. I’ve been stuck to many times and walked to many miles through our heavy gumbo mud to really care.