When it started to rain two weeks ago, I was a little frustrated I hadn’t gotten all my corn in. Now that the rain has stopped, and the flood waters have gone down, I’m glad much of what I didn’t have planted wasn’t. The corn that was in the ground has been slow to come up, but the stands look good. Right now, the corn just really needs some sun so it can take off.
A good share of our farm is in an old wetland that was drained by series of canals that were built when the area was settled. One of our farms is located where a branch canal feeds into the main drainage ditch. When we get big floods, the branch canal by one of our fields can’t feed into the main canal and will backup and overflow into our field. When this happens, it forms a lake that’s about a half mile long and a quarter mile wide and gets about four to five feet deep in some places. Luckily, the field that was under the newly formed lake wasn’t planted.
East of Inman, many farmers have built tractor-powered pumps made from 20-plus-inch boat propellers to pump the water off their fields that stand water before the drainage ditches in the area fill up. This system typically works, but the water needs to be pumped before the ditches are full so the water from upstream (my area) still has a place to go. When it works, the pump systems work great and you can easily see which farmers have invested in them because there will be two pivots across the road from each other and one will be dry and the other will still be up to its pivot tires in water. However, the way the rains came this time, the farmers with pumps I talked to say the pump system couldn’t keep up as the rains kept coming and the ditches filled before they could get the water off their fields and they had to abandon their efforts.
The sound of crop dusters has been constant for the last several weeks. With reports of stripe rust to the south, a lot of what is being sprayed has been preventative treatments to the wheat. All the varieties we have planted have decent stripe rust ratings and given the current economic conditions, I’m not going to spray until I find stripe rust in my field. The drowned-out spots in the wheat haven’t shown up yet, but they will. After last fall’s rut-fest of a harvest, I’m not sure I’m mentally prepared for a wet wheat harvest, but we will we cross that bridge when we get there.
Local cash basis: Wheat, -36, corn, -32, soybeans, -112, sorghum, -75. — Adam Baldwin