Harvest, hurricanes, and another season's lessons
Matt Miles harvests his last cotton fields, Kelly Garrett assesses no-till residue issues, and Kevin Matthews dodges the worst of Hurricane Ian.
KELLY GARRETT - ARION, IOWA
A fifth-generation farmer, Kelly Garrett farms corn, soybeans, and winter wheat in western Iowa.
Harvest is in full swing here in western Iowa. We are almost done harvesting our soybeans and have opened a few of our corn fields. As the leaves drop on the beans, we can really see the benefits of our stress mitigation trials. The areas where we did not apply products like Shield-X or Accomplish MAX are showing a lot of aborted pods and much smaller bean sizes. We were not as dry as some other areas, but I wouldn’t characterize this year as anywhere near normal when it comes to precipitation. It was a tough year for all crops, but we learned a few things about mitigating stress that will become standard practice for our farm next season.
We must get a handle on our residue before we plant in the spring. It was a real issue for us this season and had a significant impact on germination, stand and yield in our beans, and corn on corn fields. We had very minimal precipitation over the winter which did not help break down the residue before planting. We planted into heavy residue, and then had significant winds that piled it up even worse in certain areas.
We have started mixing in a product called RezCycle with our fall post-harvest applications and really like what we are seeing so far. Just two weeks after application, we are already seeing residue starting to breakdown in the field.
Our winter wheat and cover crops are going in. I like to have that done before the beginning of October.
MATT MILES - MCGEHEE, ARKANSAS
Matt Miles is a fourth-generation farmer in southeast Arkansas who grows corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton.
Are we thankful enough? My answer is almost never! As I started to write about the progress of this crop, it dawned on me that we are 90% complete with harvest. The last three weeks and the three weeks ahead are supposed to be perfect harvest days. It looks like we will pick our entire cotton crop without any rain getting in the way. I can only think of one other year in my career where that has happened.
The swamp land where we grow our rice is completely ready for next year. As this is happening in the Delta, my friends on the east coast had to battle rains and wind from Hurricane Ian halfway through harvest. It is hard to believe, but it looks like we are going to make it through the whole harvest season without a single hurricane in the Delta. Another rarity for my farming career.
Again, are we thankful enough? I must pause regularly and realize that it’s not me being a “good farmer.” It’s the fact that for some reason I have been given another undeserved blessing. When I think I have the tiger by the tail, it’s being controlled by someone way smarter than me. Just remember there is always another year and things are never the same. Good luck to everyone this harvest season.
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.
We are well into harvest and it has been an interesting one for sure. We started the season with a fire in our tower dryer that resulted in a lot of toasted corn and a total loss. We are fortunate that we have multiple bin sites, but without this bin site online, our trucking costs have increased because we need to haul our grain further now. We overcame the dryer fire and then a few weeks later, Hurricane Ian decided to head straight for us. There is no greater motivation for getting your crop harvested than a hurricane. I can’t say enough about our team of workers. We ran the combines for 21 straight hours the day before Hurricane Ian arrived. We were blessed with lots of prayers and ended up getting only two to three inches of rain with no flooding. The winds stayed under 50 mph and the crops handled them. Everything was still standing when it was all over. Other than losing power for most of the day, we were lucky to come out unscathed from this storm.
Our corn is nearly 50% harvested and our soybeans are about a third complete now. We have harvested numerous test plots and are starting to analyze the results. We managed to cut our AgroLiquid soybean trial plot just a few hours before we had to shut down for the storm.
Finally, a big congratulations to our XtremeAg Scholarship winners. These young folks are impressive. It is inspiring to learn about these future agricultural leaders.
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