Farmers back in field after rough month
“Things will get better,” one farmer says
After a month of persistent rain, farmers were finally able to get back to work this week, although some low-lying areas are still too wet and more rain is forecast for the county.
Randy Vogel farms north of Marion. He said he drove through deep mud on country roads to get to his pastures and feed hay to his cows last winter.
“I had just enough hay,” he said.
He got all his corn planted before the month-long rains. It all came up but is yellow in spots where it stood in water.
He hired Cooperative Grain to spray his corn Saturday to kill residual weeds after a pre-emergent application of herbicide.
He tried to plant soybeans Saturday, but the field was too wet. He planned to try again last Monday.
“The later soybeans are planted, the bigger the yield loss,” he said.
He said that wheat in low spots has died and turned white.
Hay stands are almost too tall to cut. Alfalfa is falling over and brome is chest-high, Vogel said, but he wasn’t complaining.
“It’s better than no hay,” he said. “We’d like to hope we can survive.”
Mike Beneke of Lincolnville found that all the rain, at least 20 inches in one month, has caused carryover nitrogen to leach out of the soil.
“I was hoping to use one-third less fertilizer this spring, but the nitrogen’s all gone.”
Hay potential is strong this year, he said, but it could lose its quality if it stands too long before being cut.
John Hajek and family at Tampa finished planting corn last weekend and are starting to plant soybeans. An aerial crop-duster sprayed their wheat with fungicide.
“It looks really good right now, but more rain will drown it out,” son Alex Hajek said.
He estimated they had received at least 16.5 inches in May.
If the weather stays wet, they plan to chop brome hay for silage instead of baling it.
“We’re surviving one day at a time,” he said.
Matt Orth, operator of Central Ag Air at Marion, said he has been busy spraying wheat fields with fungicide. Fungus thrives in wet, warm weather. The application keeps wheat healthy and increases yields.
Keith Jost of Hillsboro was upbeat about the coming season, even though he has had to replant some corn.
“Brome is growing well and the corn is turning greener,” he said.
He was looking forward to planting soybeans.
“They do well in June, when it warms up,” he said. “The crop will grow fast and beat the frost in fall.”
He was excited because his son, Alex, was joining him full-time this year.
“There’s certain days we farmers get a little discouraged, but we’re optimists,” he said. “We think it will get better.”
Last modified June 6, 2019