ADA, Minn. — It’s amazing how some sunshine, some heat and a little breeze help firm up the seedbed.
Back in his May 11 report, Danny Brandt said Brandt Farms had about 400 acres of wheat left to plant and half of their sugarbeets. They still had corn and soybeans to plant. Planting was taking longer than in some years, because of the wet conditions from 2019.
Some folks were still trying to get their 2019 corn combined. The Brandts had their 2019 corn harvested, but the corn stalks were holding a lot of water near the soil surface.
Then, on May 17, the weather began to warm up. Temperatures moved into the 70s for the week ending May 22, with sunshine and a 10-12 mph wind.
In one week, the Brandts planted the rest of their sugarbeets, finished planting all but 50 acres of wheat, finished corn planting and made great progress on soybean seeding.
“We can cover a lot of ground when the conditions are right,” said Danny on May 25. “We’re still working some of our fields twice this spring – not just us, but a lot of farmers are still working their fields twice – once to open them up and then give it a day, spread fertilizer, and then come back and plant.”
The nice weather was also helping the weeds germinate and emerge. The sugarbeets got their first herbicide application.
“Ragweed is starting to show its ugly head,” he commented.
With basically just soybeans left, the Brandts kept up their fast pace. Danny texted the Valley United Co-Op of Ada agronomist about herbicide applications. The custom applicators worked Saturday night, May 23, and Sunday night, May 24.
“All of our soybeans are getting a pre-emerge put down,” he said. “Valley United is chasing up around the fields with their sprayers and doing a great job.”
The Brandts raise seed soybeans. One variety is susceptible to white mold, so they talked with their seed agronomist about reducing the seed rate to improve air movement around the plants.
“I was seeding at 150,000 (seeds per acre) last year, and we actually are going to turn the seeding population down to 130,000-135,000,” he said. “I planted one small field at 100,000 yesterday, more of an experimental field just to see what happens with it.”
The Brandts were also getting ready to bring their combine into Titan Machinery of Ada for servicing ahead of the 2020 harvest. Normally that’s a job that is done in the wintertime, but it is likely that many combines still need to be gone through after the wet and snowy conditions of 2019-20.
Just north of the Brandt farmstead, about 50 acres of last year’s corn ground remained too spongy to plant.
“It was getting too wet and started plugging up the rolling basket on the Salford, so we just pulled out for now,” he said. “If we can get it worked within the next couple of days, we’ll put in wheat.”
He’ll increase the seeding rate because later-planted wheat may not tiller as well as earlier-planted wheat. It will all depend on how quickly the saturated soil can dry sufficiently for holding up the tractor and planter.
Leaving the wet 2019 cornfield for planting last, the Brandts hoped to complete their final 450 acres of soybeans before the end of May.
“I have another small field that I have to decide what to do with it yet,” Danny mused. “I am not sure what to do with it yet. It was beans last year, and I don’t like to put beans on beans.”
With that, he returned to the busy planting season of 2020, grateful that weather conditions improved enough to make the job easier.