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Spring has sprung

Agriculture.com Staff 04/07/2006 @ 2:58pm

Two days of temperatures in the 80's and a nice rain Thursday night has me thinking about this rhyme I learned in my younger days. The feeling of spring is definitely in the air.

The rhubarb I planted last year broke the ground this week. It appears that there will be a bumper crop. Gooseberries that I put out the last two springs are turning green. They have me thinking about fresh pie that will be available about Memorial Day.

Yeserday, I was just leaving a meeting of the Saunders County marketing group when my cell phone rang. It was the agronomist from Midwest Co-op explaining that he had just gotten the results from the grid sample updates he did on my corn ground. He had the fertility program figured out and wanted to get it applied in the afternoon. I did not exactly understand the details of what he proposed. With anticipated rain, I told him to go ahead. They finished several hours before the storm started.

I really like the precision agriculture approach to applying mixed fertilizer. I had the farm grid sampled five years ago, so this year's tests were a follow-up. In the research that I did for seven years on an adjoining farm, I got a significant response from application of phosphorus fertilizer on no-till corn and soybeans. The precision approach allows me to have the advantage of a fertility program while keeping the cost to a minimum.

Today, April 7, is the average day for the toop of the spring high in corn futures. For soybeans the date is still a month away. A posting on the "Marketing" talk page this week questioned the significance of the fifth trading day of April. All of the seasonal dates on my long term charts are simply averages of 27 years of futures prices. There is nothing magic about any of these dates. They are good guidelines for making sales. The price peaks occur close to the stated dates about 70% of the time. They work well with technical signals. You should never bet the farm on any signal or completely ignore other factors.

Steve Johnson has an excellent Power Point program on using the seasonal charts on his website, www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farmmanagement.htm. If you have not been to one of my workshops or heard a presentation on seasonal patterns, it is worth your time to look at this program. It was developed for recent marketing meetings in eastern Iowa.

Two days of temperatures in the 80's and a nice rain Thursday night has me thinking about this rhyme I learned in my younger days. The feeling of spring is definitely in the air.

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