WHEATON, Minn. – It was a good time to drive 540 miles northeast to Red Lake, Ontario. The Rodd and Jamie Beyer crew had caught up with fieldwork, and heat plus humidity made it too hot to work much in Traverse County.
Rodd invited some guys from Wheaton to drive with him up to his cabin that he co-owns with friends in northwest Ontario.
“It’s not a place I go every weekend,” he said on July 22. “It’s either one or two trips a year.”
The fishing and camaraderie were both good, he said. They had plenty of walleye to eat, and they also caught a 15-pound lake trout, which they released. The trout are just coming back from either a natural or manmade disaster that dropped their numbers.
“It used to be a world-class lake trout lake 20 or 30 years ago, and then something happened,” he said. “It’s a big gold mining area and possibly something got into the water or it was a natural-occurring mineral release. They just weren’t breeding like they should have been, but in the last five years, they’ve figured a lot of that out. They’re making a good comeback.”
North of Wheaton, the crops looked great – especially the small grains.
“It was one of those drives where you just sit there and think, ‘Oh man, I wish my crops looked like that.’ They planted a little bit earlier, so their development is further along and things look good.”
While he was gone, the Beyer crops grew like crazy. The farm fields received 0.2-0.6-inch of rain in mid-July. Hail fell nearby on July 19, but the Beyers’ fields were spared.
By July 22, the corn was tasseling. Rodd figured the corn development was about a week behind average. Neighbors had sprayed for European corn borer, and the Beyers scouted their own fields.
“We’ve kind of been finding that the conventional corn is out-yielding the traited BT corn the last three years,” he said. “I’ve been planting a little more of that each year, and I’m pretty excited about it.”
With the corn growing fast, green snap became a big concern. Hopefully, no big storms would goose neck or break the cornstalks.
Rodd said this year’s soybeans were behind normal – maybe two or three weeks behind because of the cold and wet spring.
“There are some fields that haven’t started blooming yet, and you want to see blooms by July 1,” he said. “That’s really disappointing. There’s a lot of bean fields that are still not canopied and I don’t know if they will.”
They found bug pressure too – thistle caterpillar, cabbage loopers, green clover aphids, grasshoppers and crickets. The soybean aphids were not affecting the crops yet, but the farmers kept scouting.
The Beyer sugarbeets also were behind. Rodd added that Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative was concerned when initial tests suggested that tonnage was below the 10-year-average.
Third crop of alfalfa was coming along. The dairy planned to take the cutting during the last full week of July. The Beyers’ first cutting averaged 2.5 tons per acre, and the second cutting averaged 2 tons. The dairy managers said the third cutting would average about a ton per acre.
While Rodd vacationed, his mom, Darlene, helped Jamie by looking after the kids.
Jamie had a couple of meetings to attend – the United Soybean Board meeting in Fargo and then the Red River Valley Ag Celebration in Mentor, Minn. There was a good crowd at the Mentor event, and Jamie met some people from North Dakota organizations, including leaders from barley and wheat. Thom Peterson, Minnesota Ag Commissioner, also attended.
On July 23, she was flying to Washington, D.C., for two nights and three days. She and other state leaders were going to lobby on the Hill along with members of the American Soybean Association.
Then Jamie will be back home to prepare for Farmfest, Aug. 6-8. As president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, she wanted to encourage everyone to stop by the Minnesota Soybean booth and say hello.
“We have farmers set up to work shifts and to meet with legislators to let them know about our priorities,” she said.
She asked everyone to take a look at the Minnesota River water reports issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on July 22. A public comment period runs until Sept. 22. The studies, located at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/minnesota-river-basin, show many bodies of water are not meeting water quality standards for bacteria, sediment, chloride, phosphorus and nitrogen. The reports describe the strategies needed to restore and protect water quality in the watershed.
“We want to make sure people are reading through these reports and picking them apart,” said Jamie.