Farm Horizons, Aug. 2018

Better than ‘knee-high by the 4th of July’

By Dave Schwartz
Certified crop advisor, Gold Country Seed

It’s been an up-and-down year when it comes to weather in our area. April was a cold, snowy, wet month, which made fieldwork nearly impossible. Corn planters finally got rolling in early May. Most of the corn and soybeans were planted over the next two weeks, so the bulk of the acres were planted by May 20.

Growers in our area were very fortunate, compared to growers in very southern Minnesota, where planting dragged out into June because of the rainy weather. In our area, early May was fairly dry, but then it began raining in late May and stayed wet the whole month of June. Good soil moisture, combined with extremely warm temperatures through June pushed the crop along.

Meteorologist Paul Douglas stated in a weather report that May 1 through June 22 was one of the warmest periods for those dates on record.

Growing degree units are running +165 of normal as of July 6, so the crop is more than a week ahead of normal.

As I’m writing this article (July 7), I am seeing some very weedy soybean fields, especially those that did not receive an early herbicide application at planting time.

The other thing that stands out is corn fields with good tile drainage. Plant color is a much more uniform dark green color and there is far less yellowing in the low areas.

In southern Meeker County, where I live, we had saturated soil for an extended period around June 18. These conditions likely contributed to nitrogen losses, especially in low areas and fields with sandy loam soil types. Northern Meeker County escaped some of the big rainfall events so growers in this area are very happy with their crops.

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