McKay Family

Brad and Megan McKay, and their children, Taylor (left) and Carter. Photo by McKay family.

PAGE, N.D. – A recent string of 90-degree days allowed Brad McKay to make huge progress in the harvest of the 2019 corn harvest, as he only has about 200 acres left to go.

“That’s basically patches of cleanup that we left earlier this winter,” Brad explained. “A lot of the corn we combined this spring weighed 51-52 pounds and we didn’t have much foreign materiel, so that was better than it was last fall. It has been coming off at around 12 percent moisture.

“On the financial side of things, I still haven’t figured out if it was better to wait until now or if it would have been better to harvest in March,” he continued. “When we had that 90-degree weather, we really gave it all we had because that was the best conditions have ever had for combining corn.”

But every day wasn’t perfect harvesting weather as Brad picked up about an inch and a half of rain in thundershowers, which were welcomed for the growing crops.

“We missed the really heavy stuff on Wednesday night (June 17). Six miles south of us they had over three inches of rain – we were glad to miss that one,” he said.

Brad has also made advances on his weed-spraying program on his fields. All of the soybean fields have received their first application, plus he does a little bit of custom spraying and has a few acres to catch up there.

However, the recent rain has postponed any action on his prevented plant acres, since they are now a little damp again for doing any tillage work on them. Once the fields dry out enough for a cultivation pass, he will first make a herbicide pass across the field to burn down the weeds that are already growing. He then plans to make one pass with a Salford tiller, with a concave row of blades, which makes the soil action a little more aggressive.

“This will chop and dice the stalks that are still in the field,” he noted. “That will get some of the corn we missed and get it covered up with dirt and get it growing. We will follow that up later with a pass with a chisel plow.”

Later on, the McKays will seed a cover crop on their prevented plant acres and are planning on using a small grain crop such as wheat, barley or rye.

“We seeded a small area of prevented plant to rye last year and we had good results,” Brad said. “Right now, I don’t plan on doing a full-season cover crop. I have some drains I want to clean out. Hopefully, I will get a lot of that work done in July and the first part of August and seed my cover crop during the latter part of August.”

As for the progress of this year’s crop, both the corn and soybeans are doing quite well. He noted some corn stands are not as good as he would like to see, which is probably due to “mudding” the crop in and that early hot spell sort of “baked” the soil surface. However, Brad expects the corn will grow out of this with some warm growing conditions.

As for the soybeans, the crop is looking good. Brad was spraying the soybean plots he has in for Peterson Farms Seed on the evening of June 22, but hard winds made it very difficult.

Finally, Brad has recently sold some new crop beans and saw the strongest basis he has ever seen on soybeans since he started farming.

“We are booking new crop soybeans at 70 cents under basis, and I think that may even get stronger in the next month,” Brad concluded.