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08-05-2012 11:54 AM - edited 08-05-2012 12:07 PM
I got done with a little bit of haying Friday afternoon and went home asked the wife if she wanted to go with me and go for a crop tour in the new vehicle.
They were forecasting 50% chance of rain so did not want to mow any more till after that so... Took off about 5:00PM Fri. Went west on Hiway 34 and saw some good crops and some not so good crops all the way to the Missouri River. We saw places in fields that were still green that had fallen, not blown but fallen flat some as big as 20 acre areas just flat on the ground. Went south to Neb City then crossed the river and went on south into Ks Then west on US36 to Seneca Ks spent the night there as it was just getting dark. Nice pool there at the Motel. Got back on the road west bound in the morning and Not until Belleville did we see real hints of real trouble from the road.
Coming into Smith Center Not real bad on the east side of town but as soon as you go out the west side of town "it's over" Just cooked. Went to check the farms in Graham, Co, Ks. The smaller north farm may have 60-70 bu milo miraculously appear from the clutches of the drought. The south farm needs a Priest to administer "last rites". 1/2 inch there since April 15th, not good.
Went north through Norton, Ks then over to Alma, Ne and north to I80 then east to home. Saw chopped fields with strips left for crop adjusters to look at. The chopped fields with strips left in them looked like the rest in the area but you could see what was inside the fields without going for a walk. They looked better from the road before they were chopped. 60 to 70% NO ears just big cooked areas.
This mainly south of Holdredge, Ne. The irrigated look good and most irrigation systems running whether on corn or beans. The corners were all cooked all the way to Lincoln, Ne.
We Met my brother and his wife at a great BBQ place on the outskirts of Ashland, Ne called Parkers, and was almost dark by the time we left there. Beautiful red orange moon rise over the eastern horizon on the way home last night.
Now for my impressions...
There is going to be a harvest. Corn and beans, just not going to be a nation wide bin buster. The #1 thing I saw was TOO much "corn college" and seed salesmanship showing it's ugly head out there. after the last three years of very favorable weather... well normal is back and things need reset.
#1 thing I saw was over population. Way too thickly planted corn and beans.
#2 thing I saw was crops planted where they do not belong.
#3 we need farmers NOT growers.
The dry areas need to get back to dryland crops.
Classic example that was every where west of Marysville, Mo was corn instead of Milo. I saw milo field after milo field that has a good chance of an average harvest right next to a cooked or nearly cooked corn field.
The beans in most areas still have a chance but need a rain. They need more wheat and milo out there or at least a better crystal ball to know when it will be an average to below average moisture year to leave the corn for the guys in the "I" states. There was a reason these guys father and grandfathers planted those crops and not corn or beans.
I saw very few non irrigated fields that could not have probably benifitted from a 10 to as much 20% reduction in final stand population.
08-05-2012 12:04 PM
its called peak corn..............I have been preaching this for a couple of years............we are growing crops on ground that shouldn't be farmed or the wrong kind of crops on certain ground...........and that my friend does not get us 14.8B.........the more crap ground we throw at corn the bigger hole we dig because we are giving up decent soya yield acres, or wheat, or milo............but common sense is not driving the bus, money is.......
also, rain covers up many many mistakes...........lot of really good farmers found out they had a little help along the way for many years..........up until this year that is............hope it has humbled a few of them...........
also, your comments contradict themselves............you say it didnt look too bad from the road, yet you saw check strips in chopped fields that look horrible...........BINGO.........big surprises coming when the pickup seat is swapped for the combine seat........
been preaching that for two months.........just too much stress............
08-05-2012 12:25 PM
"also, your comments contradict themselves............you say it didnt look too bad from the road, yet you saw check strips in chopped fields that look horrible."
This is not a contradiction...this is what I saw and how I saw it. Not all was bad or "horrible" .
I saw corn that I'd bet the "farm" on will go north of 230bpa under irrigation. I saw corn that does not have 230 bu in the whole field.
There is going to be corn, beans, and milo to harvest. It will be for sale to the highest bidder, with the exception of the growers that went to "corn college" and were slaughtered.
Just come here to my little farms and look at what Ma Nature has blessed me with to this point. Walk my fields, show me a disaster right here on my farm. yes my beans needed more than the 1 to 2.8 tenths they got yesterday but there is No disaster here as of yet. Still time but... I believe my corn has the gas in the tank to cross the finish line with the engine still running.
We drove many miles on 36 in Ks looking at green yards, pastures and grader ditches. some have been blessed in the NE section of Ks. It does get worse as you go north into Nebraska.
08-05-2012 12:54 PM
Hobby & MT,
Another factor I see is maturity choices. We have been preaching and breeding corn for higher yields on shorter maturities. The inference from the breeders is more corn from less water and dry down improvements.
BUT, down where we are.............irrigation with less water than 20 yrs ago.........................the older 118+ day maturities took the heat and stress better than these faster high tech varieties.
Its the "one size fits all" problem that we are going to face with a few companies controling the seed business. We don't have a variety left with a three year history in our area..........and believe me they don't all work here.
Hobby, Odd that there are not as many tech advances in those dryland crops---------Milo & wheat.
Crop insurance doesn't help with those either. If a similar yield is guaranteed on either corn or milo, which should they plant, the one with weed control or the one without.
Usda by administrative rule has never given milo the yield advances that came with improved cropping methods like no-til. The area from Graham co. south & north raises amazing milo rotationally----yet in a 3 yr rotation it takes forever to be build a yield for crop insurance purposes.
You guys are right---------we are screwing up a lot of farmer wisdon as we become growers for the chemical companies and usda.
Both of you---------thanks for your entries-------always look forward to them.
08-05-2012 01:53 PM
an area that started getting rain a month ago and it hasnt quit.........36 highway in NE KS........its an extension of what you have been blessed with..........
you dont have to get very far off that beaten path and find really bad corn and soya..........
and yes I know your little corner of the world looks good...........not disputing that..........but its a very very very very very small percentage of whats really going on out here............
230 field average for irrigated is pretty good in a good year.........let alone heat and lack of moisture.........and dont forget about the corners of pivots..........28 acres out of 160 is over 15% of the field that might be really bad...........230 sounds like a stretch......
08-05-2012 02:40 PM
Guess the seed company's have done with corn to y'all as what they did to us with cotton. Everything is faster and takes less stress, no mules left in the stable, only thoroughbred's. Milo is the only mule we have left, hope they leave it alone.
On the issue of population we are at 33-34K on irr and I don't think we will push much further. On dryland we are planting 14 K and you can tell it helps. We are also on 38" rows so that's another reason we try to push the irr as high as we do.
08-05-2012 02:41 PM - edited 08-05-2012 02:45 PM
Saw many rectangular fields with gated pipe, good from end to end side to side. Not all of Ne corn and beans is pivot irrigated.
A pivot irrigated quarter is treated as two fields by the FSA and the crop insurance co's. The corners as dryland and the rest as irrigated. Many are also planted as two different fields with two different crops.
08-05-2012 02:53 PM - edited 08-05-2012 02:57 PM
yes I know.........and I still contend 230 is dang good under flood or pivot without the corners in a good year.........let alone this much heat...........
and mother nature treats em all the same............
08-05-2012 03:53 PM
Drive West or NorthWest from Grand Island, Nebraska, and you will see flood irrigated fields, that never were short of water, with reduced yields anyway, due to the heat. On my place, the 'workhorse' hybrids look far, far better than the 'racehorse' ones, the very best are the long-season ones. Under irrigation, we don't worry so much about the drough tolerance, as the heat tolerance, and the longer season tend to tolerate heat better, unless you luck out with a short season, and have it tassel just before a heat event that stresses the pollenation of the longer seasoned ones.
Also, a pivot can be as many as 5 fields, depending on how the farmer has broken it up. The irrigated field under the pivot, and each of the 4 corners. Years ago, it wasn't uncommon to have the pivot corners in a rotation of wheat, corn, beans, and alfalfa. In many cases, the fields were never consolidated, even if multiple crops were not planted. Shame, though. The rotated corners almost always guaranteed a crop of some kind, off of at least one or two of the corners. Now, it seems that whatever has the highest revenue guarantee through insurance gets all 4 corners.
08-05-2012 04:20 PM
I'm sorry MT, I'm wrong, I have no idea of what I saw. As just a "hobbyfarmer" I have no right to come on here and have an opinion and express it here amonst you professional growers. I was just out of place and out of step.
If the market does not fall out of bed tonight or in the morning I am going to pull the string on most of what is still in my bins tomorrow based entirely on what I saw Friday and Saturday and what I think is in my fields for this falls for harvest.
This was taken here on my farm after a lunch today of home raised tomatos in BLT's
Not the biggest or best I have ever raised but there are 25,000+ of these per acre out there in my bottoms.