McKay

Brad McKay spraying his corn field earlier this summer. Submitted photo.

PAGE, N.D. – The morning hours of Aug. 14 brought a deluge of rain to Brad McKay’s farm near Page, N.D. A total of 4 inches of rain were recorded – with 3.5 inches of that rain falling in about a 30-minute span. A lot of that rain ran off and put township roads under water for a short time until the water had a chance to drain away.

“The erosion from that rainfall was horrendous on the prevented plant acres in this area,” Brad noted. “Most of the guys had just finished planting a cover crop on the prevented plant ground and it hadn’t had a chance to get up and established and hold the soil.

“We got all the acres worked and feel good about that. We were just getting ready to plant some rye on our prevented plant acres, but now we will have to wait for a little bit,” he continued. “We are hoping by the first of September we will be able to get some rye on. All of our prevented plant had corn stalks and there was a fair amount of corn stalks on the soil, so I didn’t see any really horrendous erosion of our ground.”

However, the growing crops needed the rain – it had been over two weeks since any significant rainfall was received in the area.

“We were a little drier than I thought,” he said. “The sloughs are full again, but as far as water drowning out crop, I don’t think I will see a lot of that here. We went camping over the weekend, so we didn’t have to look at it, and by the time we came back home a lot of the water was gone and now it doesn’t look so bad, except for the erosion.”

The rain storm did contain a little small hail, which caused a little leaf shredding to the corn plants, but Brad didn’t notice many branches broken off on the soybeans. In fact, this latest rain should cause the soybeans to have one more good round of blossoms, which will increase the yield potential.

“At this point, I am thinking the corn yields this year will be above average and the soybeans will probably average,” Brad predicted. “We should start soybean harvest around the Sept. 20-25. We’ve had the heat, so I think we will be a week ahead of normal for soybean harvest.”

The nearby NDAWN weather station at Pillsbury, N.D., has indicated the area at least two weeks ahead of normal on growing degree days.

“What I have seen over the years is we can get the heat and the growing degree days, but if we don’t get the sun and that solar radiation, that can hurt us,” he said. “This summer we have had a lot of real sunny days, so things are lining up for a good corn crop.”

The main activity on the day of Brad’s report was cleaning up the farm yard and housecleaning in the seed shed. He will also be busy wiping off chairs and tables for the visitors who will be coming to his corn and soybean variety field day. Brad was also attaching a mechanism on his scraper that automatically controls the depth of the blade using RTK GPS.

“This will allow me to make ditches where water will flow with very little grade,” he said. “I am hoping it dries up enough so I can get out and use it.”

Looking down the road, it appears like Brad will be able to attend Big Iron this year. For the past four years, the Farmer Union has held their Washington, D.C., fly-in during Big Iron, but the fly-in has been cancelled this year because of COVID-19, so Brad should make it down to West Fargo for the show this year.