Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: IN

Memories of Wet Falls Dance in the Back of My Head

No time to panic yet. Be prepared but don't run scared!

I'm not a poet, so that rhyming end to the lead-in is as close as I will get. Fall was sailing along until last week. Heavy rains pounded some areas. Many soybeans are still in the field. Wheat and cover crops need to be sown yet. Some have some corn out, others don't. Falls that were wet came to mind.

The first one was in the early 1970s. I can't remember the year. Maybe 1973. I remember dad running one 12-acre field of soybeans in late September and then rains set in. And it rained and it rained. I remember riding home with a friend, Gary Hudson, who wasn't a farm kid but who liked dairy cattle, like his grandpa, on a bleak Friday afternoon. I remember thinking about all the crops still in the field.

Related: Stalk Lodging Already Pushing Harvest of Wet Corn in Some Areas

Dad had a lot of headaches that fall. And it's no wonder why. We had a small dairy and he was usually on the late side getting to field work. But many people were late that year. Many combined soybeans in January. Some were still decent, but some were heavily damaged. Corn harvest came after that. It was April before we finished the last corn.

You think that's bad, one neighbor finished in June, just in time to plant soybeans there. He was later than late. In fact, he actually had a small field that he never picked. It stood there for two years and he finally plowed it under. Try doing that today and see how long you stay afloat!

There were some other wet years along the way. One year we had to hand harvest enough ear corn to grind for cow feed because it was too wet to get in the field. Another year the corn was very wet, and it was so cold when it was finally harvested, the moisture was down several points.

Related: How To Avoid Soil Compaction During Harvest Season

Fortunately for us, the elevator guy didn't figure it out until the corn warmed up and the moisture shot up. He scratched his head and I'm sure he blended it in with dry corn, but we didn't get more dock.

Then came 2009. The season was wet and late, and there was lots of mold. Corn dryers ran long into the night. Many hadn't been used for a while, so there were lots of repairs. I wrote about corn dryers all winter. Many bought one. Then they didn't really need them until last year, and especially this year.

The secret to not getting headaches from anxiety is having faith that eventually, the weather will settle down. It's easier said than done. But if you run scared, you do stuff like buy tracks for the combine that you might only need once, or take some other drastic measure without thinking it through.

It's like that Geico commercial where the four teenagers run to hide behind chain saws instead of to a car when they're in a horror movie. The chain saw dude is hiding behind them. Fortunately, the commercial ends. The point is: don't make bad decisions like people in a horror movie.

This season will end too, hopefully before it turns into a nightmare. Here's praying for better harvest weather.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.