Spring? Winter? It seems we are caught between the two and we have had some of each over the last week. The spring days found us busy spreading fertilizer, cleaning up brush and planting some garden. On the winter days we broke ice in cattle tanks, drained hoses and made sure the new broiler chicks stayed warm. Unfortunately, if anyone had fruit trees in bloom, those blossoms were frozen as one overnight low was down to 18 degrees.
Seeding alfalfa is on the list for the next week, as well as putting the final touches on the planter and monitor system so it is ready when the soil temperature is right. Our no-till system has shown us that soil temperature and not calendar date is the most important factor for choosing when to plant. No-till soils stay just a bit cooler and damper, so we pay close attention to field conditions before we pour in the seed. Many years, the moisture conserved due to no-till has shown up later in the season when the crop shows less moisture stress, and our first irrigation can be a bit later than some surrounding fields.
Checking pasture fences is another task we need to get done. The cows and calves are currently in dry lot but we hope to turn them out by the end of April. We have predominantly cool season grasses, so on the spring days they have been growing well. As the cool season grasses run out in mid-June or so, we utilize some annual forages to continue the grazing season. We also have part of a pasture that is sub-irrigated so the native grasses continue to grow well, and we rotate to it as drier weather prevails.
As we cross off the April days, hopefully more of them will be spring instead of winter. We are thankful that we can get outside and continue to do our work for the most part. Fewer trips to town and more online interactions remain prevalent in the virus battle.
Basis at CVA Scribner for May corn $0.31, soybeans $0.63. — Ruth Ready