We had a little more rain than some other areas. We’ve had one day in the last two weeks where it was fit to do some tillage. We were able to work all day Wednesday April 22 and then it started raining again. We had well over an inch of rain in the last 3 or 4 days and it is going to be a little while until we get back out there. We have also had some very cool nights and it brings the moisture come back up out of the ground at night. That makes it hard to get much done.
There was some corn in the area planted on April 22. Some guys had done some tillage awhile back and planted into stale seedbeds. We saw some N getting put on and we got 500 acres of bean burndown on. There have been other days where it was dry enough to spray but it was too windy.
Our pastures look good. We have built a lot of fence in the last couple of years and we have been able to rotate the cows around to different parts of the pasture. The first part of April we turned them out into another lot. That rotation has really helped the last couple of years and the pastures look good. We have also been putting a little more fertilizer on the pastures and spraying for weeds and I think that has helped too.
There are real challenges right now in the livestock business. You don’t know from day to day whether you’re going to have a place to market your animals or whether you’ll have to maintain them for 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 6 weeks. In a normal year, we sell a lot of freezer beef, about 50 head. As of this morning, we have delivered or sold 41 head for freezer beef and we have 37 more calves on the books for the rest of the year. We may double what we are doing with all of this going on. We are really fortunate to have the customers we have and the relationships with the butcher shop to get appointments. If it wouldn’t be for that we’d have a lot of big cattle standing around eating with nothing to do with them.
It is still a hair cold this morning. We missed a lot of rain over the weekend and that was very fortunate. I think we are going to get our share of rain starting this evening, but as of now the dust is flying. We have been planting for about a week now, both corn and beans.
The lake effect keeps us little colder in the spring and that makes us drag our feet a little bit, but it is also a benefit in the fall when we have another week or two that are frost-free. Last night we dipped down to about 34 degrees. We had to delay planting ahead of that because we didn’t want that to be the first drink of water and we had to be patient the last couple of days. We are just over 50% on our soybeans planted so we feel like we have a healthy start. We can’t plant in some of our wetter farms yet, but spring ground conditions are the best they’ve been in a couple years. I feel really good about how things are going. It would be perfect if things were 10 or 20 degrees warmer. The extended forecast doesn’t really have those low lows, though, and I feel comfortable cutting our 24-row planter loose today on corn.
We are full conventional tillage and we have fields pretty clean. Our weed control is looking good. The wheat is also looking good.
We have Lysol wipes in every tractor and we are trying to maintain social distance where we can. Farming is kind of an isolated career anyway and we don’t have the option to wait so we are going about our business.
We weren’t able to start with planting yet. We have still been in the same weather pattern with pesky rains. We did get some burndown spraying done. We are about halfway done with that and we continue to work on tile repair. The forecast was looking better but has changed. It would have been dry enough but soil temperatures are still cold at 32 degrees and there is frost on the ground. Hopefully we move into some higher temperatures and find some dry weather.
We had a couple of fields that are dry enough but they are going to corn and we would rather plant beans at this stage than put corn into ground when it is too cold. When we start, we’ll plant both soybeans and corn at the same time. We’ll have all three planters rolling at once.
The conditions are fairly consistent around here. Most everyone is still waiting. I did hear about some fields planted over in Auglaize County.
The fields we have been spraying burndown on are pretty clean. There are not many weeds emerging yet. The woods are still pretty brown. You can tell just by looking around that things are still pretty cool.
Everyone is getting tired of the shelter in place. We haven’t seen much virus in Shelby County. Everyone waiting to see how we get things restarted again. We need to get people back to work and get people driving again. The ethanol situation is very worrisome. The only way to correct that is to get people pumping gas again.
We are seeing a little movement in markets again and hearing rumors about China starting to buy again. Hopefully those turn into facts so we can see our markets start to rebound as well.
We don’t have a cloud in the sky. It is pure sunshine here, but it is supposed to be raining by 2 in the morning. We get dry enough where we can think about starting and it rains.
The county has three no-till drills to rent and I saw one of them being returned the other day. Normally the coulters are shiny, but there was no shine on those coulters. It looked like they pulled it through a mud pit. It is wet. Some corn got in the ground and there are some beans in the ground. The beans are starting to swell and trying to poke through, but I don’t know what kind of population we’ll see. Corn can’t handle having much population cut. It has been a tough spring so far.
Back 20 years ago, we had a lot of two- or four-row planters in our area. Today we have 12-row planters and 8-row planters and, with guidance systems, we can plant around the clock. I’m not worried about getting the crop in at this time. If it is still like this in 3 weeks I’ll be worried.
The wheat looks really good, even the wheat that was put in for cover crop. With straw at $7 a bale, wheat is pretty hard to turn down. You can make money at wheat. They’ve put some nitrogen to this wheat and it looks really good.
We have a lot of rye stands planted for dairy and beef feedlots and they look really good too. But when it comes time to cut it, you’ve got about a 3-day window to get it harvested. It’s going to be tough to get it in these kinds of conditions.
I know we are doing some compaction out in these fields. That is not just this year’s problem. It is a problem for the next five years. I use a compaction meter and it is amazing. If there is a problem and the crop doesn’t look good, you usually find 2 or 3 inches down there is hard soil the roots can’t go through.