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August will be important for crop

August will be important for crop

Rain has been scattered, leading to running the irrigation from app while away from home.

We were gone for a week, yet the crops continued to grow without us. Rachael and I had some basketball training to attend in DC. We took the kids and grandma along to make it a ‘vacation’ and visit my brother while we were out there. Dad stayed home to take care of the farm.

I snapped this picture outside one of the USDA buildings in DC.

We have been receiving scattered rain the last few weeks. The most consistent and plentiful has been centered right around home. Though we haven’t had to irrigate here for nearly 3 weeks, we have been pumping somewhere nearly every day. We had just started up again on Friday when it rained again. This week doesn’t appear to hold as much promise for precipitation. Neither the corn nor soybean crop is ‘made’ here, August will be very important. We will turn the water back on tomorrow.

While away, I was able to run most of my irrigation (nearly everything away from home) via the app on my smart phone or tablet. I’ve been making upgrades and improvements in stages over the last two to three years to get to this point. Generally, it has been a big time and mileage saver. Despite several bugs in the software, I didn’t have any major issues while on the road. (I’ll save my rant about releasing technology before it is ready for another day!) I did have pump motor heaters pop a couple of times due to poor ventilation on the electric boxes. Fortunately, dad was able to get them reset at short notice and have the machines running again.

With the upcoming report next week, I think it’s important to remember what the USDA knows. I snapped this picture outside one of the USDA buildings in DC. I was just walking past, not paying much attention. I didn’t see any signs telling what the display was for, nor did I look. Sometimes sarcastic, I texted the picture to a friend with the caption ‘USDA garden… shows what they know’. He was quick to reply ‘They know weeds hurt yield’. That statement being politically correct, I agreed. I know that is kind of a cheap shot, however with a report next week, I think it illustrates the frequent disconnect between USDA reports and farmers’ opinions of the crop.

All joking aside, I also walked past the farmers’ market area beside another USDA building where goods are peddled on Fridays. Though the garden may not be working out as planned, I’m sure the farmers market is a great agricultural education tool.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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