Took a trip this week to visit with a farmer for a future story I'm working on, and it was a spur of the moment call - in April. Sad thing is that I knew I'd catch him because this prolonged rain in the northern Corn Belt has us all sitting around watching the skies.
Equipment is positioned in the shed, it's greased, checked out and all the connections are tested, you're ready to roll. And my guess is many of you are envious of those farmers who post planting shots on Facebook. Remember only one-fifth of the crop is in and chances are that's in parts of the country not known to be top corn and soybean producers.
A trip last week had me south of Memphis for some meetings and we saw some equipment just rolling back in the field there too. Cotton and rice planting is also behind. It's another one of those years.
We're entering a time when we know we'll be measuring growing degree units and trying to determine if a change in corn or soybean maturity might make sense, if you can get the seed. Iowa State recommends planting corn in Northeast Iowa by May 2 for highest yield window. The farther north you travel, the tighter the planting window, we're entering the critical week for corn planting.
The farmers I visited this week were hit last year and saw lost yields in the wet spring that had them planting corn until June 1. Pile on the technology, work your magic with fertilizer and we all know that Nature has something to say about what you do too.
Yet corn yields were better than in past years and we're building back from the drought disaster of 2012. And that's a good thing.
So as you sit in the office figuratively twiddling your thumbs waiting for the weather to dry, consider one more run through that planter setup checklist. I know you'll be ready to roll as soon as the ground is dry enough (and for some of you even sooner than that as you wend your way around the wet spots).
Here's hoping it dries out soon, and when it does we wish you a safe planting season. And share your progress in the comments area below, would love to know how your season is going.