Some planting started, but wet conditions continue

Matt Spillman

We were really wet here the first couple weeks of April. We had 6 plus inches of rain and major flooding in some of the bottoms. Most of the water is gone now and things are shaping up. It looks like maybe today we can make some progress on groundwork and things have dried out nicely. I think today’s the day we’re going to get started planting.

We have some sandy ground and some heavy clay that takes a while to dry out. I would say 30% of our ground is probably not too far from being plantable today — maybe more than that — so we can get rolling.

We’re going to start with beans. We’ve been having good results with the earlier beans for our operation the last few years. We’ll hit those pretty hard for a day or so before the corn. I think we’ll be rolling with both planters towards the end of week.

It’s supposed to get up to 60 here today, but we actually had a really heavy frost this morning, down to 30 degrees and maybe a little lower than that. It was pretty white. There may be a couple of cold nights here in the middle of the week, but then warming up towards the weekend into mid-70s. That makes us feel comfortable about putting seed in the ground and getting started. 

We’ve done a fair amount of burndown here trying to stay ahead of it. The winter annuals really came on early and are more plentiful than normal. It’s nice to get those fields cleaned up. That makes tillage go better and things just work smoothly that way.

John Settlemyre

We’ve been plenty wet the last couple weeks. Yesterday afternoon it was windy and 42 degrees. I saw a couple guys getting some no-till beans put in the ground.

The soil temperature this morning was 39 degrees. I think yesterday it was around 42 to 44 degrees. There has been some frost on the windshield. In terms of soil moisture, the lighter ground is dry enough to do something, but a lot of the black soil is not quite there yet. 

We’ve got a lot of spraying done. With the cold temperatures, it’s been a little slow to work. We’re putting Sharpen in with everything and 3 or 4 days later you start seeing some color changes in the weeds. There’s a lot of grasses, though, that really haven’t started to die yet. It’s a thick mat out there with winter annuals and there’s some grass coming up as well, so we definitely need to get that burndown finished up. We’ll get done with that here in a couple of days.  

We do a lot of beans after beans and use a lot of inoculants. We use a lot of post- emergence fungicides and seed treatments to help out on the diseases like SDS. Crops have been very good for us. We rotate corn in and out, but there’s some places we’ve got 2 years or 3 years of beans and the yields are still good. I think the key is to get beans planted early. Last year we planted some beans April 15 to 18, and then we got rained out. We didn’t get back in until the first week of May and in some of those fields there was a 12-bushels advantage on the early planting.

Hannah Kiser

We have had continuous rains. I think 2 weeks ago things started drying up, but then last week we got hit with another half inch or so that’s keeping everyone out of the fields. Looking at the forecast, it doesn’t look too promising for any fieldwork this week, or even up to 10 days. I  think there’s rain most of the week, so it has been a slow start this year for sure. There really has not been much of anything planted up here. I mean there’s no field work being done other than just a little bit of topdressing. For Kiser Seed, we’re still delivering seed out to customers. It doesn’t even seem like they’re in too big of a hurry to plant with all the rain and, based on the forecast, planting is probably not going to be anytime soon. 

By the beginning of May, and especially around Mother’s Day, is when people will start really getting antsy. I know a couple of years ago we planted those days on the weekend of Mother’s Day. All of our customers did too and we all ended up replanting it. I don’t know if that’s going to happen again this year, but taking that weekend off is all right with me.

It looks like a lot of people got a lot of field work done in the fall. I don’t see too many weed issues yet but with all of this rain we’re starting to see a lot more pop up. There are a lot of dandelions in the fields, but it’s so wet you can’t even get out to spray.

Jeff Rea

 It’s drying off a little bit, but we had quite a bit of rain last week and we had some hail too. The cooler temperatures just aren’t letting it dry off very well. If it wasn’t going to rain any more this week, we might try to do some spray burndown. Some of the fields are getting a little greenish cast to them. I’d kind of like to get those weeds knocked down.

We don’t usually do a lot of fall spraying. We grow half non-GMO beans and then we grow some Enlist beans and we have non-GMO corn too. That makes it a little more of a challenge so we try to get on top of the weeds as soon as we can in the spring.

There is rain in the forecast for Tuesday. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a huge amount so hopefully it won’t dump on us. I’d like to see some warmer temperatures, but this week does not look good. It was pretty frosty here this morning and the temperature is supposed to get down in the 20s on Thursday, so I’d really like to see some soil temperatures warming up.

We generally plant more in May. Maybe the last couple of years some guys have gotten some stuff planted in April. I would say at earliest mid-April. I hate putting seed in the ground and then having it sit there for 2 weeks before it comes up. 

In a good year, we try to plant both corn and soybeans at the same time. My son is part-time farming with us. He’s also a farrier so he has his own business doing that. If he’s available, he’ll usually run the corn planter and I’ll run the bean planter.

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