After consistent rainfalls in mid- to late-June, July began dry and hot. The corn didn’t seem to mind; it had already achieved canopy earlier this past month. With no weed competition it took right off.

Soybean-herbicide application was finished so we went on to the spraying of noxious weeds along fence lines and in woodlot areas. With a portable sprayer in the bed of our Kubota RTV we knocked down small patches of the usual suspects. The arrival of water hemp in recent years has us changing tactics and chemistry because it seems to germinate later. Waiting a little while for most of the hemp to sprout has given us better control.

We had replanted June 25 some bare areas in one soybean field. With the long dry spell after that, I worried it might not germinate. But tiny sprouts from our efforts emerged July 2 from the dusty soil. In want of moisture, they languished in their rows. We blessedly received an inch of rainfall July 6-7. It was so welcome! The beans are now knee-high and blooming.

With that rainfall our corn pushed out its first tassels; it’s now more than 9 feet tall. But to our dismay Japanese beetles appeared after the rain. And alfalfa weevils were spotted as we pulled up giant ragweed.

Grain heads in the wheat fields are starting to nod. The straw’s color is beginning to lighten from green to gold, revealing a unique beauty. The second cutting of alfalfa and hay is underway; re-growth had been strong prior to the latest cut.

Ellie and Rich Kluetzman own and operate an 84-acre cash-cropping farm near Columbus. Both are semi-retired but are steadfast in continuing to farm. The acreage is small, the equipment old, but they love nurturing the deep fertile soil in step with nature – whatever the challenges. They cherish being witness to the Lord’s miracle of turning seed into a bountiful harvest.