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SoyRoy: Weather Is an Extremely Important Topic

Unseasonably warm weather doesn’t mean payback is coming.

The weather was bright and sunny as I walked out of the meeting room where I had just attended a farmer appreciation day sponsored by the local Rotary Club.

As the brightness hit my face, my good neighbor walking beside me exclaimed, “It’s a nice day, but we are going to pay for it later.”

The attitude of going to pay for it later seems to prevail a lot among farmers. There is an attitude that we must get punished for comfortable weather.

Having survived close to 50 years of extracting crops from the land, I have a bit of different attitude about long- and short-range weather events. My attitude is more in the line of “Weather seldom changes gradually.”

It is more like trending from one extreme to the other in a very short time. A long period of favorable weather is likely to be followed by drought. Conversely, if there has been long period of drought, it is likely to be followed by an extremely wet spell.

The fact that I have been farming so many years means that I can give numerous examples of weather going from one extreme to the next. Extreme years included 1974, 1977, 1984, 1993, 1995, 2002, and 2012. Some years were too wet. Others were too dry. Some had a combination of both including bad timing of rain events. I have probably left out some.

The year that stands out as being the worst combination was 1972. I had only been farming a few short years. At the time, I still had livestock on the farm. A dry winter had been favorable conditions for building fence. The date was February 29. Short-sleeve weather meant I got a lot done outside that day. I do not remember all of the details.

Before spring planting, the weather turned nasty, and fieldwork fell behind to the point that I did not get any corn planted until June 1. By then odds for good crops were gone. The corn that I finally harvested needed considerable drying. We finished harvest in December.

I am not predicting another year like 1972 or even a second worse like 1984. However, it is too early to start worrying about the possibility of weather problems. There is so much time before weather becomes any kind of a factor at all. Meanwhile, enjoy the weather as it is. Having said that, I think I will go for a walk while the weather is nice.

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