View from the Cab: Crossing the line
By: Kent Casson
It is always nice to cross that spring planting finish line and hopefully this is the only time we have to cross it.
I realize I may jinx things when I say how relieved I am that all of our family’s corn and soybeans are in the ground but it does feel pretty good. As of this writing, we are nervously watching those nighttime lows as they dip into the 30s and scattered frost has been reported in some locations.
No farmer wants to hear the words “frost advisory” come across the radio at 5 a.m. Farmers also don’t want to see ponding in area fields but that is what happened during the recent Mother’s Day weekend soaker. Many of our farms received 2.5 inches from that weather system while some growers reported three inches or more of the wet stuff.
There were guys who reportedly parked their planters heading into Mother’s Day weekend since cold rain was in the forecast and many agronomists have warned us against planting ahead of cool, wet weather in recent years. This apparently damages the corn seedling sitting in the soil. Soybeans are more forgiving in these conditions which is why we saw many more soybeans go into the ground early this year.
I can’t recall a year when we have been done planting by May 6 but this was the case for many growers. Luckily, we had a decent weather window in April to get after it and put in some long hours. We will find out this fall if planting so early was worth it. If the yield monitor readings climb in the combine cab, we will probably try to do the same next year when it comes to early planting.
Once all of these field lakes dry out, there may be some replanting in our future. I guess this is alright as long as we don’t have to tear-up entire fields for some reason and completely start over again. The forecast does look wet again in a few days so it may be a challenge to even get out there and try to replant.
The most recent crop progress and weather report for Illinois showed corn planted has reached 74 percent. This is compared to the five-year average of 61 percent. Corn emerged reached 35 percent. Soybeans planted was at 57 percent compared to the five-year average of 25 percent. Soybean emergence was 23 percent while the five-year average is only 5 percent.
You’ve likely noticed those green wheat fields while driving around the countryside recently. Winter wheat headed in the state was 58 percent, compared to the five-year average of 48 percent. The condition of the crop was six percent very poor, seven percent poor, 17 percent fair, 52 percent good and 18 percent excellent.