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We’re easily distracted - priorities change every 3 minutes this time of year.

I can relate to the dogs in the movie UP. They are easily distracted when somebody yells ‘SQUIRREL!’ Priorities change every 3 minutes this time of year. I can start toward one task and end up at a completely different place just a few moments later. Items get bumped down the list even faster than they were added! I start the day with a well-defined list of what I want to get done, and at the end of a very productive day only a couple items are struck from the list. Here is a few items we’ve worked through this week:

Our strip till machine is in full use this spring.

Last Saturday, we had a lake effect band set up on top of us and drop 3 inches of snow. Thursday it was 70 and sunny, feeling like we should be planting. Though our typical ‘window’ for planting begins by the calendar on the 15th, we’re likely a week away from any serious action. The plan is to get into the field next week and get the bugs out.

I couldn’t resist the urge to stir up the neighborhood today. I worked up the ‘garden’ beside my house. It is likely I will plant some sweetcorn this weekend. I have no idea what the ground temperature is, but It’s the only shot of having fresh corn by the 4th of July.

Strip till success

We have had success growing corn on corn by using strip till. Yields are comparable to full tillage, but the machine, labor, and fuel expense is just a fraction. Planting also goes faster as we only need a planter at that location, while tillage and other planters can run elsewhere. With lighter soils, our experience is that the strip holds better when we do it in the spring. Fall strips tend to leave us planting in a trench, rather than on a nice slightly raised seed bed. Some years it just doesn’t work out. We were headed for one of those years until last week. The strip till bar (photo) is now hooked up and in use.

With the warm temps, hopefully weeds are now growing and will take in herbicides. Spraying had been put on hold for the last couple weeks. It will be a compressed burn down spray season. I have elected to use faster acting products such as paraquat. The extended fall in November and December set us up for green fields. I want the fields clean before tillage gets there, to leave us with a more consistent seedbed. Also, insects aren’t attracted to fields without vegetation.

As it picks up out there, everyone keep safe!

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

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