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Time crunch starting to take hold

There is no shortage of things to do as farmer prepares for spring planting.

I can tell you one thing for sure: Today we are one day closer to planting 2017 than we were yesterday. I cannot tell you when that will be. I had penciled in a start day of April 17, the day after Easter. However, we are stuck in a wet weather pattern and there is no way we will start then.

In the last couple of weeks, we lost out on a farm changing tenants and also a farm that was for sale. It’s a bit frustrating. We are always looking to upgrade our portfolio. Nevertheless, we move forward. We continue to be too busy in the shop for the weather to have us feeling down. The sword cuts both ways, three weeks of drainage in February meant there were three weeks we weren’t working in the shop. There is still plenty to do.

I found myself re-working the planting chart one more time this week. It took until two weeks ago for one of the seed companies to decide not to renew a soybean seed contract. They cited poor non-GMO sales. Begrudgingly, we have added some GMO soybeans back into the rotation. Specifically, we have two fields, one prone to bur cucumber and one where we have had less than satisfactory giant ragweed control the last couple years. Both of those have built the weed seed bank. Limited post emergence chemistry has prompted this decision. Adding GMOs back in will require additional planter, sprayer and combine cleanout. It isn’t ideal, but we feel it is necessary to control these fields.

Though some guys west of us worked ground, it didn’t quite get dry enough for us to do tillage in February, Unfortunately the fields that need more attention are also the wetter ones. There were some ruts left from harvesting last fall. Many of those fields never dried enough to level them. Who would have thought it would rain for the last 4 or 5 weeks?

The time crunch is starting to take hold. There will be no spring application of manure; dry fertilizer will be custom applied instead. We have identified fields that we will spray and fields where custom applications will be made. The mild winter and abundant rain has fields turning green quickly. Chickweed, henbit and dandelion will soon carpet some fields. Our list of fields for strip till is now prioritized to those that are mandatory (corn fields going back to corn) and those that we would have done in an ideal year.

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

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