Farm Horizons, August 2013

Some predictable options for battling unpredictable weather

By Lori Brinkman
Assistant Carver County Feedlot Administrator

What do you call it when unpredictable weather becomes predictable?

I hate to say it, but I think they call it the norm.

I’m not saying that weather doesn’t throw us for a loop on a yearly basis. This is Minnesota after all.

I allude to the 25-year 24-hour storm that I was schooled on in my college and Carver County Soil and Water Conservation District days – 4.8 inches in Carver County to be exact. It seems, we get one of those every year these days.

Many of the liquid manure storage basins in Carver County were designed to that standard, and many of those basins have been partially emptied this spring and summer because the storage capacity was not going to be sufficient to get those farms through to harvest.

It truly has been a challenging year. I can’t recall seeing so many acres simply not planted due to wet conditions. Additionally, there are drowned out areas in fields that have never drowned out before, despite additional field tile installed in fall 2012.

The age-old saying is that field tile doesn’t cost money, it pays; and in many areas of a field it does, but for those low areas where crop loss due to drowned fields is a chronic issue, that’s difficult to say.

Upon visiting the Carver SWCD office last week, I became aware of a couple options available to farmers and landowners. The Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) offers a practice where hydric soils can be enrolled in a crop retirement program. Payment rates can range from $220 to $280 in Carver County.

There are some enticing Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) program options for areas along Department of Natural Resource protected waters. There is also an option to hay the RIM enrolled acreage.

If any of those programs interest you, stop at the Carver County SWCD office just off of Hwy. 212 near Cologne, or give them a call at (952) 466-5230.

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