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Field work? Virtually no progress

These same rains we are wishing away are the rains we will want a month or two from now.

We’re not in a bad place, but we haven’t made much progress towards finishing up since it started raining 11 days ago. I know there are places that haven’t planted at all. I know there are places that have been rained out for a month now. That is never fun.

Related: Feedback from the Field - May 11, 2016

We were able to slip in 100 acres this past Saturday, finishing fields where equipment had sat for a week. Monday was one of those days you just didn’t know what to do -- soils weren’t too wet, but intermittent sprinkles with impending rains derailed much work. We didn’t want to load up the planters only for a downpour to hit. Corky did get his field (the last field of Identity Preserved soybeans) planted before rain set in Monday evening. Since then we have accumulated about an inch. Still, not bad, and if we get a few clear days we could be back in the fields by week’s end.

These same rains we are wishing away are the rains we will want a month or two from now.

Typically, we don’t mind a break shortly after planting begins. It gives the opportunity to fine tune equipment and make changes or repairs that might have been forgotten over the long winter. It is also great to know that planters are working properly. It is a relief when all the rows start popping through.

Growing Degree worries

The downside of this break has been the temperatures. We simply have not been accumulating very many GDUs short for Growing Degree Units. GDUs are used to gauge growth of a corn plant. The formula is based on daily temperatures and is used as a gauge for growth of a corn plant.

Many times hybrid information incudes statistics such as GDUs to pollination and GDUs to black layer (maturity). A quick look reveals that since we started planting, we have only received 70% of normal. Since the rain began, we have barely received the 100-120 GDUs necessary for emergence. As a result, it has taken until the last couple of days to see any plants emerging.

This cool weather is also putting stress on the seed. There have been some seed company emails come through discussing seedling disease. Seed treatments can only protect the seed so long, often plants just need to grow fast enough they are not affected by the disease. The good thing is our soils haven’t necessarily been saturated, they have been able to dry somewhat between the rains. Cool and wet is never a good combination.

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

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