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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | May 30, 2014

The planting season that began around here on May 5 ended on May 21 when the last seeds went into the ground.

The remaining unplanted acres became planted acres.

It would be easy to complain that we are behind compared to other years, but I do not believe anyone is complaining. Last spring’s disaster is still fresh in everyone’s mind and everyone is still shell-shocked from those events of a year ago.

We got used to having planting done by early May for many years and after last year, when there was ground that did not get planted at all, it was a lesson that in spite of our large equipment that has made tillage and planting easier, we’re not as invincible as we thought.

Last year’s spring weather has a place in history that I hope makes it a one-time event as I have nothing to compare it to in my 66 years.

But this year was starting to track a lot like last year when, by the third week of April, we were ready, but our fields were not.

When planting progress was reported, everyone south of us was getting their fields planted while we were still waiting to dry out and warm up.

Sitting here on the Iowa-Minnesota state line, we were lumped into that area the crop people were describing as “off to a slow start” that included Minnesota and North Dakota.

I know we are north, but are we that far north? Apparently, the answer is yes.

Being gun shy from last year with the calendar letting us know that time is going by and the time is now, tractors and equipment rolled at any chance fields conditions looked close to being good.

Then a huge amount of progress was made. There was a week in May when half of Iowa’s corn acres were planted. That was no small feat.

In looking back, while possibly field conditions were not ideal, they were good enough and time was passing us by so those decisions to go were good ones and the first planted seeds around here are emerging.

Besides fields that needed to dry, there was a problem with the persistent cool temperatures. Based on the recent days, maybe the worst of that is behind us.

Even our vegetable garden had the same situation as corn and soybeans. We had one day that, while not exactly the way we wanted it, was close enough that we decided it was time to work up the ground and plant those potatoes, radishes, peas, and some things my wife eats, but I don’t.

That day was April 26 and almost four weeks later, the potatoes are emerging and we are starting to see rows.

If we had not planted April 26, it would have been another nearly two weeks before we would have had another chance with those same conditions.

With our potatoes, along with the acres and acres of corn and soybeans all planted and emerging, we are ready for the next step of weed control, while hoping rain arrives at the right time with the right amount.

So, this spring, while not as good as previous years, is still good enough and we can look forward to a harvest next fall barring any calamity between now and then.

Once again, we out here in farm country have learned how tied we are to the weather.

In spite of our big plans and big equipment, weather always has the last word.

Sometimes we have to settle for good enough and go from there.

As we Midwesterners like to say, “It could have been worse.”

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

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