FAIRBURY – Jon Goembel has lived on his northern Belle Prairie Township farm for more than three-quarters of a century and has never experienced a growing season quite like this one.
Longtime farmers like Goembel seem to remember the extreme years more than the ordinary ones. One of those extreme years came in the spring of 1957 when Goembel graduated high school.
“I believe it was the 23rd or 24th of May and I know we had not planted any corn or soybeans until after I got out of school, but I couldn’t tell you what kind of a harvest we had,” Goembel recalled.
Goembel recalls his father telling about the spring of 1943 when he didn’t start planting corn until Decoration Day. It was quite an undertaking back then because of the small equipment used on the farm. Goembel also remembers the dry years during the 1980s – including 1980, 1983, 1984 and 1988.
“I kept close track of the precipitation in 1988,” Goembel explained. “In May, June, July, August and September, I had a total of 5.5 inches of moisture in those five months.”
Fast forward to 2019 and Goembel has a hard time believing what he is seeing from Mother Nature.
“I know we’ve had various late springs but I’ve never seen anything like this and this continual wetness is just difficult to deal with,” Goembel said.
Despite the conditions, Goembel’s planting season went fairly well although he feels very little of the crop went into an optimum seed bed.
“We did the best we could with what we had to work with and that’s about all you can ever do.”
A farmer always has to be an optimist but a realist too, according to Goembel. The real concern is that we are approaching the end of June with corn that is just ankle high in some places and soybeans barely out of the ground. We have burned up around seven weeks of the growing season which greatly impacts trying to get the crop to maturity ahead of fall weather.
“We are going to be dealing with a lot of high-moisture corn come fall. I just don’t see any other way around that,” Goembel concluded.