Drone photo by Nick Peterson

The swaths of green oats were drying quickly on the cloudless day, but rain moved in the next day. Then another rain arrive a couple days later so it was time to chop the oats and bag it. Drone photo by Nick Peterson.

CLEAR LAKE, Minn. – Surprise rain at the end of June made for some interesting developments at A&L Peterson Farms, said farmer Ryan Peterson.

On Tuesday, June 25, the Petersons were cutting beautiful green oats that a neighbor would purchase for feed. Ryan’s brother, Nick Peterson, took some time to get great drone photos. The weather was dry, the sky blue.

“We didn’t know how much (yield) was going to be there,” said Ryan. “We started cutting them down and there was a lot more than we thought.”

With the oats laying in nice swaths to dry, Ryan, Whitney and their kids, Hunter and Weston, headed down to Nebraska to visit Whitney’s parents. There were plans to bale the oats while Ryan and his family were down south, but it started to rain.

It rained unexpectedly twice on the downed oats. Ryan and Nick’s dad, Alan, gave Ryan a call.

“Can we have a Plan B? Is it possible that we can chop it, because I don’t know if it’s ever going to be dry enough to bale,” Alan asked.

With that, the oats were chopped on Sunday, July 30, until it started raining again.

Chopping and bagging were completed by Tuesday, July 2.

The bagged oats will ferment and be ready to feed soon.

“I’m still confirming the loads and the weights and getting that figured out. We need to figure out the dry matter and how much the tonnage was,” said Ryan. “I’m curious to see that.”

That same Tuesday, July 2, Ryan dug up the oat field. He planted light red kidney beans on Wednesday, July 3.

This is the first time they have tried planting a second crop in early July. It will be up to Mother Nature to determine if they have a crop to harvest this fall. Normally the kidney beans are harvested around Sept. 1. This July-planted crop will be harvested hopefully around Oct. 1.

“Even if they yield half or a little bit more than half of what they’re supposed to – by double cropping it we should still make money on those acres,” he said. “We need a lot of heat right now, which would be good.”

From the feedlot, a load of finished steers were sent to the packing plant. Another half load was going for harvest on Wednesday, July 10.

The Petersons got in 65 head of Holsteins, on July 3, that weighed an average of 650 pounds. Price wasn’t too bad for the backgrounded cattle, Ryan said, but the packing plant had closed finished cattle contracting for next March or April. They said the contracts were already filled. The March-April basis was about 15 cents in early July, but Ryan expects that basis to widen to about 30-40 cents nine months from now.

“We’ll still be needing some more cattle in during the next couple of weeks once we get another load out,” he said. “I think the selling market is probably tougher than the buying market right now. The buying price isn’t bad, but if you can’t lock in a price it frustrates you.”

Normally, Ryan purchases cattle and then locks in a profitable contract for finished cattle. That way, he can just forget about marketing. Now, he’s worried about the selling price.

Along with their trip to Nebraska, Ryan and Whitney took their own trip, July 4-7, to a cabin up north.

Then it was time to start running the irrigators.

“If we get an inch in one day and the sun comes out, we’re just fine,” he said. “It’s not too big of a deal except other than those oats.”

The seed corn company agronomist let Ryan know they would be applying fungicide and insecticide to the seed corn. The spray would be applied aerially beginning on July 10.

“They normally do that two or three times, depending on the year,” he said.

The rest of the crops looked good and were growing.

“The soybeans are doing pretty well. We did spray them in early July and ended up putting some Cobra in there to stunt them for white mold purposes,” he said. “They look a little brown, but they’re growing out of it. We’ve got a little bit of water hemp in one field, so that burns that down too.”