Mark Dowden, March 26

“I farm 2,000 acres with dad, mostly corn and beans, but always a little wheat. We wean to finish two groups of 2,500 contract hogs a year. We have black bottom-ground and some rolling ground from Urbana to north of West Liberty all the way out to DeGraff. We are spread out far enough that we can often go somewhere when it rained somewhere else. We breezed through our anhydrous in about 6 days in beautiful weather. It was 80 degrees and short sleeves.

“There was maybe 200 or 300 acres of corn planted last week down around Urbana west of town in the Mad River Valley on the west side of the river. That is pushing it pretty early. We thought about planting a little last Friday. We finished our anhydrous and we thought maybe we’d try a field just to see what it would do, but then it rained. Any time after the first of April when the ground is fit, we’ll start planting. We only have one planter so we usually roll out and plant a couple hundred acres of soybeans then we’ll switch and plant all of the corn, then finish up the soybeans.

“Wheat has been tough the last couple of years. A lot of the wheat around here doesn’t look too good. We got ours in early and it looks pretty good. We sidedressed it a couple of weeks ago. We may have a helicopter fly on a fungicide application this year.

“These no-till fields, especially, are really greening up and the weeds are getting big. Even in the worked ground, the weeds are coming thick. We’re going to have to get on it that’s for sure. If I had a lot of no-till fields, I would consider getting in and burning them down now, and then maybe coming back with residual. I know that is another pass over the field, but if we can’t get in and plant for a month, you’ll be right back in weed problems again. We have to keep an eye on the insects too with a year like this.

“So far we’re on pace for a good year but things can change in a hurry. I am optimistic that things will go well because of our good start, but the prices could drop in a hurry and we have a lot of money in inputs.”


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