Rain haves and have nots showing up in 2020

Charlie Kail

The rain has been spotty. There is fantastic looking corn around here. Most of the time the reclaimed ground where they stripped coal years ago has shallow topsoil, with a lot of stone in it and there is some coal in there to mess with your mind so you can’t get the nitrogen right. It is 120-bushel corn ground. I was in a field of reclaimed ground that has had rain virtually every week with a population of 34,000 to 36,000. It looks like a picket fence. It is completely pollinated to the ends of the ears. We were coming up with 217 bushels for the yield in that field. It is phenomenal. If you go down the road 5 miles in some of the best ground around here, that corn will be lucky if it breaks 120 bushels.

The temperatures have made a difference too on the backsides of the hills. We were working with our discbine. I pulled out into the field; my wife was driving the buggy. We stopped on this one knob and she looks out and said, “Why are we mowing this? The yard is taller than this.”

I said, “Wait until we go down over the hill.” We went down over the hill 25 yards and we were in foot-high grass second-cutting. It is just that variable out here.

We have a lot of later corn planted that hasn’t pollinated yet. The first round of early corn is pollinated. Where we got rain it was great pollination and where we didn’t we have ears at 50% pollinated with the rest that is going to be a blank ear. The soybeans are waist-high and phenomenal looking to knee-high without a canopy formed yet. The crops that got rain look great and those that didn’t look tough.

The pastures are drying up and water supplies are drying up. Wet weather springs are gone and the main springs aren’t running really strong. We have to watch that cattle aren’t drinking out of mud holes. Taking in that much dirt isn’t good for them.

People are already feeding hay. It has been all about what rain you’ve gotten around here.

Patty Mann

We have not gotten any rain in the last week. We’ve enjoyed the cooler temperatures, but things are starting to look a little stressed again. There are some moderate chances this week and we are hopeful we get some more rain to keep things going.

The early corn is definitely finished up and into brown silk. The later corn is getting toward the end of pollination as well right now. The rains came the third week in July and that was definitely a game changer. Everything greened up, grew some more and everything looked so much better. Then we had cool temperatures last week and some fog and really heavy dews. That all helps as well.

We are seeing just a little bit of frogeye in the beans and some gray leaf spot in the corn, but neither one of those are severe. The way things look right now, disease is not setting up to be a problem.

The beans have looked really good all year. They are getting tall. My son-in-law was out in the field last week. He is 6-foot 8-inches tall. He is a big guy and he said the beans were up to his waist. I know tall beans don’t necessarily mean they will yield well, but there are quite a few pods out there. Hopefully more rains will add more pods. It looks like it will be hot all week with a chance for rain every day as well.

We have some concerns with weed control. Waterhemp seems to be our new enemy, but so far so good, we are not seeing a lot of weed escapes. Hopefully we can keep ahead of them.

We are watching markets going down, which is not much fun to see. I know there are some dry spots out there, but for the most part it looks like there is a good crop coming.

Willie Murphey

Things are looking pretty good. Last week had anywhere from 2 to 3.5 inches of rain. Things are looking up. There is a chance for rain every day this week. Things were starting to get pretty dry in some places and that rain made a huge difference.

The earlier planted corn pollinated when it was really hot, but the later planted corn all pollinated last week when it was cooler. It benefitted from the rain and the cooler weather. We are probably at least 90% through pollination. Some of the last corn we planted is finishing up.

We decided to put fungicide and insecticide on about all of our acres. We decided to spray all of the beans and this year we decided to spray some corn acres at V5 to see if it would help with disease pressure we had seen in the past. We put it on when we post- sprayed the corn. It is a huge difference in price compared to spraying with an airplane. We’ll see how it does. Then we came back and sprayed most of the rest with an airplane. We have one farm we didn’t do because we missed it when we post- sprayed and it was too far along when we sprayed with the airplane.

The hay has been a challenge. We had some straw we needed to bale first. Then we had hay on the ground when we got some pop-up storms and it stayed on the ground for a week. So that was a challenge, but on the flip side we needed the rain pretty bad. We’ll take the good with the bad on that one.

Jake Heilmann

We have been making some progress getting tile installed. We got an inch of rain on Aug. 1. It was a nice 48-hour soaker. There was rain forecasted for today but it seems to be splitting and going around us. We’ll always take more but we have been getting just enough. I know we lost some top end corn yield already but we are still hoping for average.

We had so much early planted corn we are pretty much at brown silk everywhere. The earliest corn got into some heat for pollination. Maybe 75% had favorable pollination conditions.

I have not seen any western bean cutworm eggs yet. We had an infestation last year and we ended up having to spray to remedy it. We did see some spider mites working along the edges of some fields of soybeans.

We have very minimal northern corn leaf blight. Diseases, though, are not much of an issue for us this year.

The soybeans still have to-the-moon yield potential at this point. August will make or break us and that inch of rain was not a bad way to start August. It would be nice to get some more showers this week to help finish them off. They are podded to the top and we are finding a lot of three- or four-bean pods. We have a consistent stand and I am hoping for good, consistent yields.

There are rain chances later this week, maybe not for large amounts, but a high percentage chance. We’ll take what we can get.

It has not been a good year for the high sands. It got too dry there in late June and early July. There is maybe 50% yield potential on those sands. Soils with more water holding capacity and more organic matter were able to make it through those stressful situations and be more productive.

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