Tillage equipment

Crop watcher Kelly Nieuwenhuis wraps up fall tillage Nov. 15. They till about 10% of their acres in the fall, he said, mainly just for corn on corn.

Well, the 2020 growing season is behind us! It has definitely been a year to remember.

From an early planting season with good conditions, to a cold May that caused slow emergence, then things looking tremendous, to drought conditions setting in – it definitely has been a roller coaster year.

There were expectations of huge carryovers in all grains early in the year, then predictions for the lowest carryovers in several years. All this puts a toll on planning and marketing. But as farmers we deal with variables the best we can and move on.

Our farms ended year with better soybean yields than the past two years. That was mainly because of the flooding and wet conditions in 2018 and 2019. Our soils do better on the dry side as long as it isn’t excessive.

On the corn, we ended at about average with the past five years. Fields varied by more than 00 bushels per acre from the highest yield to lowest. But I have to say with market improvements, 2020 will end up being an OK year!

As we prepare for 2021, we are hoping we have timely rains next year because we have no subsoil moisture.

Over the winter months I usually stay busy with meetings and promoting agriculture and the biofuels industry. Will be doing that again this winter, just from my office with Zoom meetings. They do work in a pinch, but isn’t like face to face conversations and interaction with others in the industries.

With a new administration in 2021 we need to be at the table and in the conversation on where we’re going moving forward. We need to have the voices of members involved with agriculture and the biofuels industries be heard to avoid having our industry’s future be decided by uninformed individuals in politics. So, any chance you as a farmer get to be involved, please do so!

We are looking into different options for seeding cover crops during the growing season. We have somewhat of a plan to build a seeding system to seed cover crops when corn is 2 to 3 feet tall. This will be experimental, so it will be done on a few acres on a trial basis.

For 2021 my biggest wish is that we can put the COVID pandemic behind us. As a nation we cannot withstand another economic shutdown, so hopefully with people following certain helpful preventative measures and a possible vaccine, we can overcome this pandemic.

I enjoyed the opportunity to share our farm’s story over this past year and appreciate the Tri-State Neighbor for connecting the agricultural community through these Crop Watchers!

Hope everyone has a blessed holiday season! Thank you!

Kelly Nieuwenhuis farms in O’Brien County, Iowa. His report was filed Nov. 15.