We had a half-inch of rain the week before last. Then this past Saturday it was scattered but in the northern end of the county where it had been dry all summer we got an inch of rain and that will really help with the final fill on the beans and the double-crop beans. In the southern part of the county we got two-tenths.
The corn is pretty well made, other than maybe the later planted corn may get a bit more kernel depth. The later planted beans could still use a rain to fill out the pods. The earlier beans are pretty well made now. The double-crop beans could use some more rain. We don’t need any wind, but we could use some rain this week, which would really help the hay too.
We are getting ready to start third-cutting hay. For no more rain than we’ve had it has grown better than we anticipated. I think it is still gong to be on the short side, but quality-wise it is going to be very good for third-cutting.
I think harvest won’t be until the first week of October or maybe the very end of September. The first planted corn still has green leaves and it is not starting to dry up at all. We’ve got time before this crop is going to mature for harvest. We were 3 weeks behind for planting on some of it and it will probably be a couple of weeks late for starting harvest. A lot could still change and we could be in the field earlier than we think, though. The heat this week will help the corn mature. We have one farm picked out where we really want to run the corn early so we can plant some wheat.
We are able to get enough rain to keep grass in the pastures. We have been able to rotate and that has made a big difference. We have a pasture mix sowed with sorghum sudangrass and forage turnips that look really good. We are hoping we can get an extra 3 or 4 weeks in the fall to get the cattle off the pastures and let them recover.
On our farm there is a lot of variability with the early versus the late. There are going to be two different stories there I think. We had one good rain a week ago Friday in varying amounts. Here at the home farm we are still on the dry side while farms to the north and east got over 3 inches. There have been good rains up there and that corn was planted later and had the opportunity to pollinate in cooler conditions. The corn at the home farm pollinated in the heat and dry conditions. I think the yields are going to be all over the board. The very last corn field we planted was June 9 and it was just finishing pollination on Saturday.
It sounds like toward the end of the week we have some more chances for rain and the beans would still benefit from a nice rain. The beans all along have been looking better than the corn. They are tall and we are really starting to see the pods in there. I think our bean yields will be average or above.
The markets have been a roller coaster for sure. We just need to get ethanol back and get demand back. The windstorm out west was bad. I have a friend in one of those hardest hit areas in Iowa. Most of his corn is flat and he lost half of his grain storage, including a couple of new bins that didn’t even have the wiring finished yet. They are all damaged to the point of being unusable. Another question mark is how many of those acres they can actually harvest.
We have some spots that are really ugly and it will really hurt yield if we don’t get rain in the next couple of days. We had a drizzle the night before last, but every little bit counts. In the grass hay field you can see it is picking up the nitrogen we put on it. It is trying to grow. It just needs a good soaking rain. The corn is curled up like pineapples and the bean leaves are standing up on edge like they do.
I’d say close to 40% to 50% of the crop in this area is hurting big time. Anything that is sand, clay and shale has been hammered. The ears are there in the corn. They are getting shorter and they just need to fill. The bean pods need to fill.
We do have a lot of good quality hay made. We are pretty well through third-cutting and some fields have the fourth-cutting off. I’d say 90% of the hay that was standing was cut this last week. The dry weather has given us a chance to harvest forages, we just need some rain so they can come back.
We plant a lot of cover crops around here, behind soybeans especially. We broadcast a lot of wheat and rye out onto the field mixed with the potash. Some people work it in with a vertical till and some don’t do anything.
There are quite a few people feeding hay already and the creeks and springs are drying up. It is getting tough out there. You can do everything perfectly, but if you don’t get the rain, you’re going to be in trouble.
Last weekend we had good rains. We got a half-inch Friday night and then at my house I had 1.9 inches Sunday morning. That was fantastic. It was the first rain we’ve had of that amount since planting. Unfortunately it wasn’t really widespread. It went from 1.9 inches to an inch from my house to the shop.
A lot of our corn is already at black layer. The lack of rain and heat is just saving me dryer gas at this point. I’d say around 25% of the corn is that far along and we were just having the discussion that it looks like an early harvest. I think we need to have everything ready the second week of September so we can be ready if it’s time to go.
The beans are still taking advantage of any rain we get and not aborting pods late. We are crossing our fingers this week because another nice rain would help these beans finish out strong.
It is not a good year to be a sand farmer. With the drought, that is the first soil type to really take it on the chin. We may see yields from 50 to 250 and they may be in the same path. Where the average is going to end up falling is hard to guess.
We are in the middle of a big tiling job right now and when we get that done we’ll shift gears and start prepping for harvest. Prior to get those last rains, the ground was extremely hard to the point where we had to pre-rip ahead of our trenches just to be able to pull the plow through it. Once we got that rain it was a very noticeable difference and the tile was going in like it should.