McKay family

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

PAGE, N.D. – The planting season is wrapped up for Page farmer Brad McKay. He put his last soybeans in the ground on Friday, June 5, right before the weekend rain moved in.

“We had about an inch of rain on Sunday evening (June 7) and a lot of wind that did some damage to the unharvested corn fields,” Brad said. “It was enough rain to incorporate some of last applied pre-emergence soybean herbicide into the soil and give the new seeding a good start. We had a good run of planting and things went really fast. The crops in the area are looking very good right now.

“I finished cleaning up the planter today (June 10) and backed it in the shed and got the combine out,” he added.

Brad reported that they got about 60 percent of their total acreage planted and all of the acres not planted to corn last year were seeded this spring. He says they were fortunate to not have heavy rainfall that left a lot of standing water in the field. The rains they did receive mostly soaked into the ground.

The next big project is harvesting last year’s corn crop. Brad harvested a few acres before the rain and damaging winds came through, and he plans on resuming once things dry out.

“We had a 60 mile per hour wind that took down some of the corn, but it’s manageable,” he noted. “That corn has been out there for a year and we we’ll get to it. Hopefully, by the next time we talk we will have the combining wrapped up. It will be nice to get that off our plate, especially since we have spraying corn and soybeans coming up real soon.”

The development of growing new crops and the harvesting of old crops aren’t the only concerns of famers the last couple weeks. As a seed dealer, Brad has been answering a lot of questions from growers on the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the use of dicamba.

“I believe it will work out,” Brad said. “They won’t allow a court in California to decide on the use of dicamba by farmers out here. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, but that current label for dicamba expires at the end of this year, so we will be through this label by the end of the month and it looks like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will allow that to happen.

“I have a feeling it will be allowed as only a burn-down emergence spray next year – they probably won’t allow us to use it in the growing season. You kind of make your plan going into the year and when they throw a curveball like that, it can really make life interesting,” he continued.

Seed sales for Brad have been better than what he first expected. Most of the growers in the Page area have able to plant 50-60 percent of their cropland this spring, according to Brad. Soybean sales were pretty close to normal, but a lot of the corn seed has been returned by farmers, which indicates to him that corn acres will substantially lower this year than what was first expected.

“I had around 50 percent of my corn seed returned,” he said. “A lot of the dealers I have talked to have had even more corn seed returned to them. But it will go back in the warehouse and we will use it next year. You aren’t able to do that with soybeans, since they will start to lose germination.”

During our next visit we will find out what Brad plans to do with his prevented plant acres as he works to bring those fields back to a productive level.