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Summer takes its sweet time

Agriculture.com Staff 02/10/2016 @ 4:48am

Hello again from Sunrise Acres. According to my calendar the first day of Summer is almost here. I miss complaining about the heat and look forward to some soon. Remind me later when we hit the 100s.

Seriously, the crops in our area could use some good growing days. Our corn came through the ground within a week of being planted but now the growth has slowed and the weeds are taking over. Fortunately, it is "Roundup Ready" and will be sprayed when the winds and rains subside. I am still not used to being able to rescue a weedy crop with one pass of herbicide.

Even though I know the Roundup will kill the weeds, I hate having to look at them in the meantime. Once the weeds have been sprayed and the corn "sidedressed" with fertilizer, Carol will make one last trip through the field to put in the final corrugates for irrigation. Hopefully when July 4th rolls around the corn will be as "tall as an elephants eye." This year it may be a small elephant.

Our goal of planting by the 10th of May stretched out to the 17th this year. Corn that was planted in mid- to late-April looks like it came through the cold in good shape. In the Roswell area, I passed fields today that looked great with corn two to three feet tall. Early planting looks like it will pay off this year.

Our crop of hay has been sold "standing." This means the buyer is responsible for the cutting, baling, and stacking of the crop. This encourages the buyer to get the hay off in a timely fashion to avoid bad weather. It lessens our cash outlay as we don't have to pay for machine work and helps bring cash in more quickly.

Unfortunately the weather delay does affect the yield of the subsequent cuttings. Rain at hay time is bad from any angle. While there has been some hay put up ahead of the rain, most of first cutting will have had some rain on it. Hay is in high demand, we had a lot of phone calls inquiring about purchasing some as soon as it was baled. With our old hay all gone and first cutting sold, we will keep their names on file for later.

The pastures are full of fat happy cattle enjoying the grass and alfalfa. The cool wet weather really brought the grass to life. I'm sure those of you with lawns can attest to how fast the grass grows in these conditions. The pasture is separated into sections to allow part of it to be grazed while the other can be watered. When the weather warms up it will all be ready for a drink at once. I would think the cool conditions should help us stretch out the supply of irrigation water this year.

At Agri-Lines Irrigation, there has been very little let up in the demand for irrigation systems. I am meeting a pivot truck in the morning to deliver a new machine to the Harper Oregon area and then two more to the Cambridge area next week. I get several calls each week from people who are fed up trying to “herd” water through wind blown corrugates and gopher ridden ditches. As labor get less reliable and more expensive, farm managers are able to do a better job of managing their water resources with automated irrigation. With the new tools the computer age has given us, I can bring up an aerial photograph of any farm and show exactly how a pivot will fit.

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