Weird Weather and Planter Delays Mark Spring 2014

Rainy weather has us worried about weeds, yield loss

It has been a week now since a wheel has turned. If this winter had been anything like normal, we would be concerned about losing corn yield by planting after May 20.

Looking back, it's starting to feel like 2011, when there were a lot of prevented plant acres. It's also starting to feel like 1996, when giant ragweed was cab high by the time fields dried enough to get across them. That year guys were planting soybeans by using fertilizer applicators to spin them on.

But again, why should anything be 'normal' this year?

It appears we escaped the frost this past week. My truck thermometer read 37 degrees F a couple days in a row. It's my belief that the wet soil surface provided an additional buffer against cooling. In total, we had about 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches of rain. I heard reports up to 4 inches in a single day in spots.

This coming week's weather appears to be much more favorable to make some planting progress. Actual planting progress reports in northern Indiana have varied greatly. Again, we are at about one-third done with both corn and soybeans. I've heard some areas are three-fourths done with corn, but I have driven through other areas that have hardly been touched.

I was ready to spray some fields that are getting green with weeds a couple different times, but then it rained again. As I sit here on Sunday afternoon typing away, I can see the soil color changing as it dries out. It's likely we will have a 'Sunday drive' this evening to check out conditions at the northern farms.

The kids always want to go on this trip for a stop at the Yum-Yum Shop, but yesterday concluded four birthdays in three weeks (don't forget about Easter and Mother's Day in there as well). With summer basketball camps starting in a month, I don't think we'll stop this time. Tonight we will make plans for early this week and hit it hard in the morning.

Monday update
It was a slow start to the day and an uphill battle. I was able to get one load sprayed before the guys came in this morning. Dad jumped in the tractor and did some tillage to get a head start. When the guys came in, we got them headed in the right direction. Dad and I then focused on getting the corn planter loaded and rolling.

The delay didn't hurt anything as some drying made for nice planting conditions. We had a good day planting corn. I was able to get the truck loaded for Tuesday.

Related: This Spring, Keep Overall Plan in Focus

Planting soybeans was the complete opposite. We made it to the field and did the tillage. The alternator on that tractor went out by the end of the day. However, that was not the big hang up – for the third day in a row (that we planted) the planter tractor "threw" faults and halted us in our tracks.

That meant another visit from the dealer in the morning. They've done a good job, I just think this tractor is not right. Needless to say we are going to relegate it to a non-critical role until the issues are resolved.

Did I mention we have only put 50 hours on the machine? I have a demo tractor sitting in the driveway. We will try planting with it for a couple days.

The opinions of Kyle Stackhouse are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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