MAPLETON, Minn. – The recently installed pump on the Trios’ low ground field has become an asset just a few weeks after installation. Early to mid-July saw quite a bit of rain for the area, and while most of the crops are doing well, anything in lower ground is struggling.
“We're up to our necks in water and it sounds like we’re going to get another slacking tomorrow,” said Aaron Trio on July 17. “I mean the crops were actually coming on quite well the past couple weeks, I'd say, so if we can keep from flooding out tomorrow, I think we can get this back and keep rolling that train.”
Because of the long, drawn out planting season, the crops are pretty varied from field-to-field. Some of the Trio’s corn is already starting to tassel, while other fields are right around 4-5 feet tall.
The same is true on the beans, but with the 15-inch rows they planted their beans into this year, the canopy is closing fast on those fields.
“I think these 15-inch beans will be the beans to have this year,” said Steve Trio, Aaron’s dad. “All the way around, this year they're going to shine.”
They commented that they probably won’t see the height in their soybeans that they would typically see, but the beans are able to spread out more in the field. They are closing rows faster, shading weeds, and performing well in this wet season.
The challenge now is to keep those fields from going under water.
“It's never fun to pump water, but it was nice to be able to send it off,” said Steve. “There’s a ton of water in the area. Ours was all pumped off, yet the surrounding fields are underwater.”
It is clear that some of the neighboring fields have lost their crop due to flooding and saturated soils.
The Trios installed the water pump on low elevation ground, but still high-producing ground. The investment means they will be able to get a crop off that land this year.
“It’s paying for itself,” said Aaron.
Besides keeping an eye on the water levels, the Trios are watching out for early onset of fungal diseases, starting to decide which fields might benefit from a fungicide application.
“Tonight, Aaron and I were out walking, scouting fields,” said Steve. “If it's good producing, looks like it's got potential, I think we'll put the fungicide on, but if we don't feel it's going reach potential, then it's not worth putting the money on this year.”
On the soybeans, they can handle the applications themselves with their sprayer. But for the corn, they hire a local pilot with a helicopter for aerial fungicide application. The helicopter does far less damage to the crop when compared to running a sprayer through it after tassel.
“We’ve got to determine here pretty quick whether or not to put fungicide on, but with the price of corn being higher, that might pay off better too, so we just got to start making some choices again,” said Steve.
It is never an easy decision to make an investment that may or may not pay off. There is no guarantee in crop production and this year has had more uncertainty then most.
“The crops are staying green. They look good, they're just behind,” said Aaron. “If it was June 15, they’d look great, but obviously we're past that. We’re a couple of weeks behind planting, but it is coming along, which is surprising.”