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2020's wrath on farming won't end

As XtremeAg farmers Kelly Garrett, Matt Miles, and Kevin Matthews are dodging the weather to finish up the harvest, they all agree that the 2020 harvest season has been one of the most challenging seasons of their career. It has been nothing short of an Xtreme season right to the very end.

Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa

A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.

We are proud to become the first farm in the nation to officially sell our carbon credits through the Nori carbon-credit marketplace. We worked closely with Locus Agricultural Solutions’ CarbonNOW program to verify our carbon retention practices including no-till and the use of our cow manure as a fertilizer source. Farming is all about getting the most of every acre, and this program brings that to a new level without us needing to drastically change our farming practices.

Harvest is winding down with six days left. Winter has set in a bit earlier than usual this year with our biggest obstacle to finishing up the 2020 harvest being a few snowstorms over the past few weeks. While the ground is cold enough to start putting on anhydrous, it is too wet to get into the field. We have been applying our plant food formula in the mornings when the ground is still frozen enough to get the machinery into the field.

Every acre of our corn was damaged by the winds and hail that came through with the derecho earlier this year, and approximately 1,500 acres of our corn is lying completely flat. We will try out a Geringhoff 15-inch corn head this week to see if we can pick up the corn that is down.

Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas

Matt is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.

Hurricane Zeta swept through the Delta last week, and it officially set a new personal record in my farming career since we’ve had four named storms roll through in one harvest season. Fortunately, most of the crops in the Delta have been combined already.

We’ve finished up most of our corn and rice harvest and the vast majority of beans and cotton as well. There are some scattered acres of later beans and cotton still left that we will pick up this week.

While we’ve had one of the worst years in terms of weather, our yields are holding up. It’s a testament to the value of the intensive crop management we practice all year.

As we finish up the harvest, we are also doing field repairs before spring planting.

Farmer Kevin Matthews harvests beans with a John Deere combine at sunset
Photo credit: XtremeAg

Kevin Matthews - East Bend, North Carolina

Kevin and his wife, Cindy, own and operate Matthews Family Farms of North Carolina, Inc., Precision Nutrient Management, Inc., and Deep Creek Grain, Inc. in East Bend and Yadkinville.

Our wheat and barley emergence has been excellent with the wet weather we’ve had. However, the harvest has slowed to a crawl as Tropical Storm Zeta came through the area late last week. The fast-moving storm took down numerous trees and caused some structural damage. It also brought more than 6 inches of rain in a few hours along the foothills that caused major flooding in our river bottom fields, bringing the harvest to a stop and leaving most in our area without power for several days.

Flooding on Kevin Matthews' North Carolina farm
Photo credit: XtremeAg

We are back in the fields this week harvesting corn and soybeans and hopefully, it will dry out enough to start back sowing cover crops by the end of the week.

Needless to say, the six tropical storms that have come through our area since May have taken the fun out of this season. We start every year thinking it’s going to be the best year ever, but it doesn’t take long before we are reminded that we can only control so much. Our focus is always on improving the things we can control throughout the season, and that starts with our crop management strategies.

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