Field repairs in overdrive and river bottom farming lives up to its name
XtremeAg farmers Matt Miles, Kevin Matthews, and Kelly Garrett share an update on their operation. The very wet weather continues to be a major hurdle to finishing up harvest and is also creating an extra layer of field repair work for all.
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.
It's been a tough year. It's November and we still have a third of our corn left in the field which is rare and only a fourth of our soybeans to harvest, which is on the early side.
The corn left to harvest is all located on our river bottom fields. We've fared pretty well as the first six storms rolled through this fall, but the 7th storm, Tropical Storm Eta, was a little too much to handle. The storm dumped 12+ inches in 30 hours on soil that was already saturated. The flooding has been historic, over 16 feet deep in some fields. Roads are impassable and the damage is extensive. We will try to get the corn with the least damage picked over the next two weeks. We were blessed to have so much harvested ahead of the flooding.
The small grain is beautiful with all the rain but the fall fieldwork is way behind and the latest flood damage means a lot of work before next spring. We are making decisions on seed varieties for the spring and reviewing the products that performed versus those which failed.
This harvest has been stressful, to put it mildly. We hope everyone stays safe and enjoys Thanksgiving.
Kelly Garrett - Arion, Iowa
A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.
I know 2020 has been a trying year but I’d like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.
Our harvest is complete. We were surprised that our corn averaged 200 bushels per acre even with the wind damage we experienced in August. We are now going through the data from harvest to get more information on our corn starter trials and make decisions for next year.
The rain has slowed down our applications of anhydrous and plant food, but should be back at it this week.
We have started working with Next Level Ag to map our fields and further analyze our post-harvest soil sample results to plan for next year.
Matt Miles - McGehee, Arkansas
Matt is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.
2020 has been a year I will undoubtedly refer to when teaching my grandsons about struggle and perseverance. A very wet, cool, and cloudy spring, a hot summer, and multiple waves of hurricanes and tropical storms made it one of the toughest seasons we have had to deal with. And now, I am currently in the recovery phase after being diagnosed with COVID-19 a few weeks ago. It's a reminder that life isn't about 100-bushel beans or $5 corn. It's all about faith, family, relationships, and health.
Surprisingly, all of our crops ended up doing reasonably well. They received their share of damage from storms, but the higher prices will help compensate for some of the yield losses.
The 80-degree temperatures that the Delta is experiencing this week means our tractors are running wide open as we prepare the land for another crop. The early and late season wetness left us with more ruts in the fields than usual. Our focus is on filling in the ruts on our zero-grade rice fields, something we've never been able to do in November before.
As farmers, we just have to adapt and continue to feed the world. Good luck to all the farmers still harvesting and be safe.
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