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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Apr 1, 2011

Looking out the window it does not seem possible in the next 30 days that most of a corn crop and probably a start on the soybean crop will be underway.

Yesterday my son and I made the decision on how to sell the remaining bushels of the corn we harvested last fall because it is time to do so as we have another crop on the way and will need the room for storage.

It will be hard to not compare last year with this year. Last year we could not do anything wrong.

The ground was ready early and in excellent shape. Most years we get started planting April 23 and last year we finished corn planting on April 23.

The rest of the year went just as well with the right amount of rain at the right time.

We harvested every acre planted; there were no bare places where it had drowned from too wet or died from lack of rain.

When fall arrived, soybeans yields were the best yet and the corn dried down in the field. There were plenty bushels of both. It even quit raining so we could harvest under dry conditions. Unbelievable.

It is good when a year like that comes along so we can know they do exist and it can happen.

I am ready for another year like last year but also know I can not depend on it.

So I have penciled in a yield prediction for next fall that is about 20 bushels an acre less than last year for my corn and 12 bushels an acre less than for my soybeans.

They are the yields that represent my averages.

I have decided that this year I have to be prepared to settle for less, something that is not easy to do.

There are so many things that will determine if my yields are above or below average.

We give those seeds the best start we can with lots of encouragement through the growing season.

We try to plant under the best soil conditions; soil that is not too wet to be muddy or will compact under the weight of our equipment once the earth dries out and is ready.

Once the seed is in the ground, we spray for weeds and watch for pests while keeping an eye on the sky to watch for the rain to start when there is not enough or to stop when there is enough.

It is what we do every year. It is what has been done on this farm and many farms across the country for years and years. Here we go again.

We will start the job and do our part of the growing year while knowing that when we start harvesting next fall, weather has the last word on the outcome.

It is what we do every year. My son and I are the fourth and fifth generations doing this on this farm.

After 135 years of our family planting a crop every spring, this year still feels like it is something new.

Maybe it is because no matter how much we try to be prepared, every year is different.

We will not know how our plans worked until next December when the crop has been harvested.

Like runners at the starting line who have run this race many times and train to be ready for every race, we are approaching the starting line, ready for this year’s race to next fall’s harvest.

We may not come in first in every race but we want to be as close to the top as possible at harvest time.

So get in position, “On your marks get set “

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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