2012 Between the Rows

Bill Pontius- April 9th, 2012

“I planted 200 acres there last week. It went in beautifully. It has been better than everything we planted last year. I planted about 50 acres a day last week starting Wednesday and just did it here and there and got the bugs worked out on some of our smaller fields. We didn’t plant anything this weekend.

“We ‘ve been missing a lot of rains and it is getting pretty dry here. Soil temps are 52 in the morning to 58 late in the day. The corn is starting to sprout.  I didn’t have one wet spot in any of my fields and I just kept planting because it was dry. There is enough moisture underneath for it to germinate, though. If it was going to be wet, I wouldn’t have planted. It looks like a couple of cool days this week and then it is supposed to be in the 70s toward the weekend.… Continue reading

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Mark Dowden, March 26

“I farm 2,000 acres with dad, mostly corn and beans, but always a little wheat. We wean to finish two groups of 2,500 contract hogs a year. We have black bottom-ground and some rolling ground from Urbana to north of West Liberty all the way out to DeGraff. We are spread out far enough that we can often go somewhere when it rained somewhere else. We breezed through our anhydrous in about 6 days in beautiful weather. It was 80 degrees and short sleeves.

“There was maybe 200 or 300 acres of corn planted last week down around Urbana west of town in the Mad River Valley on the west side of the river. That is pushing it pretty early. We thought about planting a little last Friday. We finished our anhydrous and we thought maybe we’d try a field just to see what it would do, but then it rained.… Continue reading

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Jim Herring, March 26

There has been an early start for 2012 and no shortage of excitement about the months ahead. “I think there is a lot of optimism out there, but the input costs are catching up with the prices pretty quickly. My planters are all out and ready to go. I just need to dump seed in them. We had the anhydrous bar out and I put a little on just to get ready and try things out.”

Like most farms, there is plenty of soil variation, from the rich river-bottom ground that produced the second and third highest yielding corn yields in the country in NCGA’s 2011 Corn Yield Contest, to heavier clay ground that can offer significant planting challenges. “I will hold off planting until April, watch the long-term forecast and go from there. We run two planters and, if conditions are right, we may start on both corn and soybeans at the same time.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius, March 26

The nice conditions in March allowed for some early spring productivity on the 2,900-acre farm based in southern Fairfield County. “We’ve gotten some field work done. We sprayed some bean ground last week and we ran about 500 acres with tillage too. We’re putting residual down when we burn it down. That residual will last 2 or 3 months and that will hopefully hold us until June when we’ll need to get out and spray anyway. We’re trying to get ahead of these weeds. I am also going to play it safe and put insecticide down on my corn ground when I spray.

“I know west of here towards Washington Courthouse, there were a few guys out planting. I knew a cold snap was going to hit and I’m glad I didn’t plant anything yet. I am going to try and wait until at least April 6 for crop insurance reasons.… Continue reading

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Mark Thomas, March 26

“We milk 400 cows and farm 2,000 acres. Around 75% of the crops go for the cattle, whether it is corn silage, alfalfa or wheat for straw. We sell the wheat grain, soybeans and some of the corn. We typically have around 650 acres of corn, 650 of soybeans, 300 of wheat, and 350 acres of hay. We also grow some sudangrass for cattle feed. We don’t have set numbers, but we try to make a solid rotation based on what the year throws at us.

“Our wheat is going to be a 75% to 80% crop this year. I have a field that will go for crop insurance. Where it is nice it is beautiful, where it is not, there is nothing. I got the N on in March and the fertilizer and the warm weather have it looking nice.

“It looks like in another two weeks we could be making first cutting alfalfa.… Continue reading

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