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View from the Cab: Caring for the crop

By: Kent Casson

Farmers tend to worry quite a bit, but I guess that means we care about the crops we raise.

Ever since I put those corn and soybean seeds in the ground back in April, I have been wondering if everything is alright and if they will have decent yields come fall. I hate to get too far ahead of myself as we have plenty of the growing season left to go, but one can’t help but worry about the drought conditions setting up across the country.

Not only is Illinois extremely dry, but other states are being included in this category as well. You may recall drought conditions out west for the past several years and apparently that pattern has made its way here to the Midwest. That is not good when the “I” states are typically the country’s garden spot for growing crops.

As I glance out at the front yard, I am eerily reminded of 2012 which was another drought year when we barely mowed the grass and yields were rather disappointing that fall. Someone just reminded me the other day the extreme dryness in 2012 didn’t quite happen as soon as this year. Regardless, this season could be one for the record books if we don’t get some rain soon.

I’ve been worrying about my soybeans up at the north farm since day one this year. It was rather cool when planting them, but field conditions weren’t bad. Thanks to the earliness of the season and chilly weather, they took several weeks to emerge. This had me worried sick and wondering if something was wrong or if I needed to replant the field.

On top of all this, it was my first year with cover crops on that farm and I was learning all of the ins and outs of growing cereal rye ahead of soybeans. The pre-plant chemical application wasn’t so effective on that rye due to the cold conditions this year so I had some cover crop leftovers emerging among the beans.

While this was all enough to cause some early season headaches, I am now relieved the crops are growing alright, despite the dryness. I guess I should have taken the advice of fellow growers who told me not to look at a no-till field for at least a month after planting.

We are reminded that we are not in control but God is. We always tend to raise some sort of a crop and get the planting and harvesting done safely. Let’s all pray for our farmers and a timely rain or two this summer. It could make a world of difference out there.


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