Friday, May 24, 2013

The 8th Day of Planting

I'm not sure if this is the proper title for today's entry since we won't be planting very long as there is rain coming in from the west.  It has been raining off and on enough since Sunday night to keep us out of the field all week.  Late yesterday afternoon the sun finally showed it's face and we had a slight breeze.  Today, again we had the sun and a breeze but it remains cold and that does not help dry out a field when you want it to. 

After a lot of discussion, dirt kicking and etc, Joe and Dad made the decision to go plant soybeans about 3:30 this afternoon.  It has been a tough day for farmers in the area.  Do we or don't we plant?  Is the ground fit?  Sort of but not really - it's definitely not ideal conditions.  But, the calendar reads May 24th.  The weather forecast is for rain the next seven days.  It is a tough decision to make and it can be emotional.

We have corn and soybeans left to plant just like every other farmer in the Midwest.  Why not just set and wait for a better day?  Well, take a look at this table by Iowa State University.

Corn Yield Response to Planting Date

        Date                                  Relative yield Potential
April 20 - May 5                             100%
May 13 - May 19                             99%
May 26 - June 1                              90%
June 10 - June 16                           68%
June 24 - June 28                           52%

Basically the clock is ticking.  Even if every variable is ideal from here on out until we harvest the corn, we are looking at only about 90% of our average yield because of late planting.  That makes for narrow margins when trying to make a profit and raise a family.  I sound pretty negative today and I am.  But, this is reality on the farm. 

One thing I was taught along the way is that we don't farm for just one year.  We farm for the average.  What I mean is that we have good years and we have bad years.  We have really good years and really tough years.  So we don't go wild spending and partying during the good years because we know there is going to be a tough year in some not too distant future.  This is farming.  This is what we signed up for.  We will control what variables we can, stay calm, and carry on. 

When I took this picture I thought is was kind
of neat.  Now, it just reminds me of how wet
everything is.

 We brought in more soybean seed in Proboxes, bags and bulk preparing for the possibility that area farmers may have to switch corn acres to soybeans IF we can't get in the field again for another week.  Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Suzanne! With the current wet conditions we are talking about switching some corn to soybeans, as well as checked into preventive plant acre details. Good luck with the rest of spring!