We got 4 tenths and that brought by my yard from brown back to looking like it might turn green. The rain has been spotty. There are places that have gotten 3 to 4 inches of rain in the last 3 or 4 weeks and then there are places like I call the “Mechanicstown Desert” where we’ve just settled the dust a few times. There is an area north of town that is excessively dry compared to a mile above it and a mile below it.
The crops are showing signs that they are not deep rooted with all of the rain we had when we were starting out. We have too many shallow roots out there. We have a lot of fields that look like we are growing pineapples instead of corn. We have soybean leaves standing up on edge trying to get out of the sun. Some fields look pretty rough and some look pretty good because they got a shot of rain. It isn’t uniform across the county.
One thing with the dry weather a lot of guys have a lot of hay baled. First-cutting is pretty well done and a lot of second-cutting is done. We have more leafhoppers out here than we’ve had in a long time. They are really hammering it. Even the leafhopper resistant varieties are not capable of handling the numbers we have out here. Those who have been spraying have been pulling beautiful second-cutting. Some second-cutting is better than the first-cutting. One guy I know sprayed his alfalfa stand right before he left on vacation and he came back 10 days later and it didn’t even look liked he’d sprayed. He sprayed again. I haven’t seen this kind of leafhopper pressure in 10 years.
Wheat is good, bad and ugly. We had some acreage out here in the 40s. There has been some wheat over 100 and averages over 80 bushels.
There has been a fair amount of fungicide on the corn. It has been growing fast and, where there is moisture, it is looking good. You have a two-edged sword when it is dry. There is not much moisture for the fungi to function, but you also have a stressed plant that can’t handle a whole lot when it does get a shot of moisture.
The rain has been kind of spotty, but we have been getting it. We had an inch last week. We had another 6 tenths this past weekend and last night we got another half-inch on the south side of Wilmington. On the north side it has been a little dryer the last 2 weeks. We finally got some relief, anywhere from a half-inch to an inch and a half last night. It was getting pretty dry and we were getting concerned.
Some of the very first corn we planted is starting to tassel. The later stuff is right behind it and we are getting very close to pollination. We are hoping the temperatures stay down a little bit for the next couple of weeks. We don’t need any of this 100-degree stuff we had last week.
The middle of the week they are saying is going to be up in the 90s, but there is a chance of rain every day. I’ll take a little 90-degree weather if it rains every day.
We started wheat harvest on the 28th and it was 19% to 20% moisture. The wheat was a little wetter than what most people want to run but they were calling for rain towards the middle of the week and we went ahead so we could plant double-crop beans. One field was a little lower than we expected and the next field was a little better than expected. We did leave one field of wheat to bale the straw. We ran it on July 6. Overall our wheat made anywhere from 70 to 85, which is lower than normal, but about what we expected with the weather we’d had. I think as cold as it was those few nights in May hurt it.
We did bale a second-cutting field of alfalfa/orchardgrass and we got about a third of what we’d normally get. The rest of our hay looks like it has good quality, but the yields may be half of what we’d normally get because it has been dry.
We did get a half-inch of rain last Friday. We had been missing a lot of the pop-ups that were developing. It was picking winners and losers and for the most part those were going around us. On Friday we got a piece of that good general system that went through. It was not quite as much as we hoped. Before that, we really hadn’t gotten anything for almost two weeks and that was just a quarter inch.
Corn is starting to tassel now and it sounds like we are moving into another heat spell. We’d sure like to see some more rain coming our way. We are concerned going into another heat wave lacking moisture. On the home farm I think it is the driest. We have some farms that have gotten moisture. We have chances for pop-up showers later in the week so we are hoping some pop up over us.
The corn has been rolling in the afternoons. We had 9 days in the 90s and it was a pretty stressful time for corn and beans. For the most part, the corn stands are decent, but they are kind of up and down. The heavy rain we had soon after planting kind of hurt the looks of the stands. Overall I think the beans look better than the corn.
Ethanol use has picked up and it seems like it has remained steady. I think everyone wants to get back to business as usual. We were surprised like everyone else with the USDA acreage report. We took that opportunity to get the last of our old crop sold. I think we are going to need to increase exports to get back to prices where most farmers need them to be.
I think it has been over 2 weeks since I mowed my grass. The only thing growing is the weeds. I think I got 7 tenths total out of the storms over the last week, so we’ve had some rain. We would’ve liked more but things still look pretty good. I don’t think we’re hurting too bad yet. The corn, especially in the sand, was rolled pretty tight. It is definitely going to impact yield in the sandier ground.
Everything is cleaned up pretty well. All the post- spray is done and fields are pretty clean. We are actually going to start going through the beans with a fungicide and insecticide, mainly because of our sandier ground. That is the next thing on the list.
Wheat harvest is done and it went really well. The heat made for great conditions to harvest. We had yields that were about average. One field did really well and one was pretty poor because it needs to be tiled. If you average it together we ended up with just about average wheat yields. I have one neighbor who had a lot of 100+ wheat yields. I think in our immediate area everyone is pretty happy with the wheat yields.
We are getting ready to put in tile. We are waiting on the mains to go in and then we’ll probably spend a good chunk of August stringing laterals. We have one field where we are just splitting tile and then we have another field that is a complete installation. We’ll be ramping that up in the next 2 weeks or so.
We are a little more on the mild side with the forecast. There is more heat for the end of the week but also more chances of rain. We went for a couple of days where other people were getting showers and we kept missing them. Every day just kept getting worse and worse. I almost didn’t want to drive around in the middle of the afternoon because stuff was starting to look pretty tough.