Bob Worth

Bob Worth in one of his corn fields on July 14. Photo by Andrea Johnson.

LAKE BENTON, Minn. – After two difficult cropping years, good growing conditions in 2020 are greatly appreciated at Worth Farms.

A July 14 tour revealed muddy field conditions from 2.5-3-5 inches of rain during the first two weeks of July. The tile line continued to run. Temperatures ranged from 70-90 degrees in southwest Minnesota.

The 92-96-day corn was about 80 percent tasseled and some of the silk was already pollinated. The field corn stood about 9 feet tall. Brace roots had developed, and the stalks looked strong. The Worths will continue to scout to see how many plants will develop and maintain two ears. Insects and weeds didn’t seem to be an issue.

“Our APH runs pretty good depending on the farm, but I think if Mother Nature doesn’t throw a curve ball, we will probably see a much higher APH yield this year,” said Bob Worth. “We have a long way to go.”

The tabletop soybean fields were already producing pods, and again, insects and weeds were not yet a problem. While Bob could still make out the closing rows, the soil wasn’t showing through anymore.

His biggest concern was yield drag on acres that weren’t planted last year. Without a corn/soybean rotation on prevented planting acres, Bob worried about disease pressure. He thought the prevented planted corn or soybean fields were a little shorter than the rest of the crops.

He also noticed some iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) in some wetter soybean fields this year. That cleared up, but IDC can also be a yield robber. In mid-July, the soybeans were a deep green color.

Throughout the Lake Benton area, waterways supported tall grasses. Pheasants, rabbits, squirrels and deer thrived.

“It was a perfect spring,” he said. “We didn’t have excess rain to ruin the pheasant hatch.”

Like many farmers, Bob remembers the tornadoes or hailstorms that took out crops. There was the devastating hailstorm of 1963 that knocked in the roof of the Lake Benton Opera House, killed cattle and wiped out crops.

The Tracy, Minn., an F5 tornado occurred on June 13, 1968, killing nine people, destroying hundreds of homes and affecting crops across southwest Minnesota.

Then, on June 16, 1992, an F5 tornado crossed Chandler and Lake Wilson, Minn., with wind speeds over 260 miles per hour. A record 27 tornadoes were observed across Minnesota that day, although that record was broken on June 17, 2010, when 48 tornadoes were sighted in the state.

The March 29, 1998, an F4 tornado in Comfrey/St. Peter again caused significant damage with the supercell remaining intact for about 150 miles across southern Minnesota.

Other notable tornadoes include Waseca, April 30, 1967; Granite Falls, July 25, 2000; Kasota, Aug. 24, 2006; Rogers, Sept. 15, 2006; Hugo, May 25, 2008; and Wadena, June 17, 2010.

With events like this in his memory, Bob never counts a crop until it’s in the bin. The 2020 crop, with that disclaimer, looks like it could be a bumper crop.