Berryton, Kan.

There has not been much going on in my neck of the woods lately. I spent quite a bit of time hauling soybeans of to the processing plant, working to monetize the crop and build some cash for upcoming expenses. My seed bills have all been paid, but there are a few sizable invoices coming soon that will need attention. Approximately 40 percent of the bushels I stored on the farm have been delivered since harvest.

We have been getting regular precipitation this month — a little bit of snow, but so far over an inch of rain. Our soil is frozen today, but it warmed up enough earlier in the month with more rainfall that the fields soaked it up and remain very wet.

I had wished to get fertilizer applied last fall, but the late harvest and new baby prevented that from happening. It would be nice if we warmed up enough in March to get that done and allow me to start planting in the first half of April. But I can’t say I don’t appreciate having good moisture heading into spring. I know other parts of Kansas are too dry, and in my opinion that’s harder to overcome.

Speaking of planting, I have watched our corn have easily detectable variance in emergence the last two years. This year was aggravated by excess moisture, but nonetheless, it’s clearly a yield drag. I can go out in the field late in the season and find shorter plants with lower ear placement, and those ears are always smaller. I suspect part of this is due to our no-till methods, and the unevenness of the seed bed. I’ll be trying row cleaners on half of the planter this year, using them on fields that have the same corn hybrid planted throughout, and measuring the results. It’s a fairly cheap experiment, and one I hope shows positive results. Whatever the outcome, the ROI will be easy to measure.

Local basis is unchanged versus two weeks ago: corn even, soybeans -0.50, hard red wheat -0.10. — Ryan Johnson

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